mariners

The Seattle Mariners Offseason Prince Fielder Debate heats up

Princes, Princes Who Adore You!

If you read my post in the Mariners forum on NWSportsbeat.com today, then you kind of already assume where I’m going with this post.

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The Prince Fielder debate has taken a turn for the good.  Over the weekend Jon Heyman of Sports illustrated, on his twitter feed, tweeted this gem.

@SI_JonHeyman #mariners are hoping to be in on prince (but not pujols). Unsure if there’s room in budget tho. But will give it a run.

So if the Mariners are going to make a serious push for the corpulent Fielder, the question then becomes how can the Mariners contractually make this deal work?

The first thing is understanding how much his agent (Scott Boras) will be asking for his client.

If you believe what ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported from one NL executive “Scott is looking for eight years and $200 million for this guy,”  then that would put Fielders’ annual salary somewhere around $25m per season range.

If you believe the  consensus that was pulled from a dozen GM’s not in Prince Fielder sweepstakes, the price tag was placed right in the middle of what Boston shelled out for Adrian Gonzalez (7 years @ $154m) and what the Yankees payed Mark Teixeira (8 years @ $180m).

I will take the side of the 12 GM’s not in the Prince sweepstakes to push my point across.

The middle ground between Gonzalez’s contract and Teixeira’s contract is right at 167 million dollars. Let us assume for a moment that this is the final number. Then let us again assume that it is Scott Boras’ desire to have the length of the deal be at 8 years,, that would put Prince’s salary right at $20.87m per season.

A pretty manageable number by today’s MLB standards.

Mariners

Seattle Mariners TO Go after Prince Fielder?

The second second thing that needs to be asked is, Will Scott Boras allow the Mariners to structure the deal?

The reason why I ask that question is because the debate over the time value over money comes into question.

Would you rather have $10,000 dollars now or $10,000 dollars in three years? If the value of the dollar is more valuable now (Fielder) rather then later, why wouldn’t you want the money now?

I believe this plays into exactly how the Mariners would structure any deal.

If the Mariners were allowed to front-end load the first four years of an 8-year deal, essentially shortening the deal from 8-years to 4 years, it would give the Mariners protection against any major injury, or a lack of production in the ladder half of the deal.

Meaning, the Mariners would have the financial luxury of trading or cutting Fielder if for any reason he was unable to fulfill the remaining years of his contract.

Here is an example of an 8 year $167m deal front-end loaded deal

Years 1-4 @ 127 million dollars ($31.75m per season)
Years 5-8 @ 40 million dollars ($10m per season)

Obviously $127 million dollars over a four year span is big chunk of money to throw at any one player.

I’m not even figuring in a bonus or any escalators, but essentially the Mariners are buying Prince’s prime production years (ages 28 thru 32). If your worried that Prince’s career will mirror that of his fathers (Cecil’s career was over at the ripe old age of 34) then a type of deal like the one I outlined would protect Mariners  from that occurring.

I stated in my previous Hot Stove Prince Fielder piece that I was against the Mariners signing Fielder mainly because the Mariners are more then a Prince Fielder away from competing for the playoffs.

Even though I still hold that to be true, I wouldn’t be against any possible deal involving Fielder if the Mariners were to obtain the contract flexibility that gave them the advantage in latter half of the deal.

If that can be negotiated with Boras, not only would I accept the deal, I wouldn’t even be worried about any dollar amount that Fielder would receive.

It wouldn’t matter at that point.         

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  • xnbafan

    There is no way mariners pick up fielder! They will not be able to afford him. This is just to keep the fan base interested and make them think they are going for it this year!

    • Insider Steve

      I don’t think anyone is thinking playoffs even with a Prince Fielder in the fold. You maybe 70% correct, and that may very well be the end result of a spirited run at him, but it wont be for a lack of effort. They have the resources to get a deal done.

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