For the second day in a row, Prince Fielder talked Tuesday about how he’s not ruling anything out as he approaches free agency for the first time. That includes becoming a designated hitter.
“I did it a little in interleague. It’s not easy to do that,” said Fielder. “It’s different because you can’t have the sweat from playing defense. You have to have a routine to get loose. It’s not like you play defense, come in and you’re still warm. It takes effort to keep your body ready. It’s even harder mentally.”
Even though he’s just 27 and he’s one of the game’s best hitters, Fielder faces an uncertain market. Big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies already have first base spoken for, and he also has Albert Pujols to contend with.
“I’m not really ruling anything out,” said Fielder. “It’s tougher [being a DH], but I didn’t mind it. It was just something, it’s not, it’s something you have to learn. It’s not just something you can do and expect to be good without having to make any adjustment.”
Fielder then went off to look for his good friend Adam Dunn after missing him at the Home Run Derby last night.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: