MLB execs think Dodgers will be “in play” for Prince Fielder

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This is more speculation than rumor, but it’s worth passing along anyway given the subject matter.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post says a “surprising number” of team executives have told him that they think the Dodgers will “ulimtately be in play” for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.

That might seem impossible given the Dodgers’ in-flux ownership situation, but keep in mind that they were able to sign outfielder Matt Kemp to a club-record eight-year, $160 million contract extension earlier this winter and that bids for the franchise are expected to surpass $1.5 billion once current owner Frank McCourt finally goes to market. Whoever ends up buying team will surely have deep pockets, and will likely be able to afford whatever Fielder and his agent Scott Boras end up commanding.

Heck, adding Fielder could even help McCourt’s bottom line if it improves the club’s perceived value.

The 27-year-old slugger batted .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI in 692 plate appearances last season for the National League Central champion Brewers. He owns a spectacular .929 career OPS.

If the Dodgers get serious about landing Fielder, they’ll likely begin shopping James Loney simultaneously.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.