It's the second week of January and Fielder remains unsigned. The first baseman — or designated hitter, for American League teams — is reportedly asking for a $250 million contract over 10 years, a sum to contend with Albert Pujols' deal with the Angels.
As each day passes, the suitors for Fielder grow impatient. Over the past week, the Nationals have been the only team linked to the slugger, and a report from MLB.com indicates that Washington won't ink him at the current asking price.
So where do Fielder and agent Scott Boras go from here? At this point, Fielder's future seemingly hinges on Yu Darvish's status with the Rangers.
If Texas can't ink the Japanese pitcher, it will likely shift its focus directly to Fielder. If the team locks up Darvish, Fielder will have to lower the price tag. Either way, Boras wasn't concerned with his client's status at the owners meetings on Wednesday.
"Certainly we're going to have him signed well in advance of Spring Training," Boras told MLB.com. "I can't give you the exact date. These things take some time. That's why we have January and early February. Spring training doesn't start until late February."
Marquee free agents usually aren't supposed to wait this long. In recent years, there have been exceptions. Carlos Beltran agreed to a seven-year, $119 million contract with the Mets on Jan. 10, 2005, and Vladimir Guerrero came to terms with the Angels on a five-year, $70 million deal on Jan. 11, 2004.
But teams are falling out of the Fielder sweepstakes this year. The Cubs already moved on from their early pursuit of Fielder, trading for former Padres and Red Sox first base prospect Anthony Rizzo last week. Seattle may not have enough money to fork over now.
The wait has lasted so long the Brewers reportedly offered Fielder a one-year deal to position him for a landmark deal with the Dodgers — once they have a new owner — for the next offseason.
Boras and Fielder will have to budge from their stance soon. Since the Yankees and Red Sox have established first basemen, it's unlikely that anyone else will pay through the roof to acquire Fielder's services.
With Boras, you never know. Maybe the agent has a trick up his sleeve. Or maybe he's finally taking an "L."
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