Does Prince Fielder want to join the teams who want him most?

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Jon Heyman’s latest column ranks the potential Prince Fielder post-free agency destinations. In order: the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Nationals, Dodgers, Brewers Mariners Cardinals and Marlins.

Question: would Prince Fielder really want to go to most of these teams?  The O’s, Cubs, Mariners and Marlins are in the competitive wilderness right now. The Dodgers are broke. The Cardinals would be intriguing, but they happen to have a first base free agent they’d likely prefer to keep.  The Nationals are likewise intriguing in that they’re probably closer to competitiveness than the other losing teams, but they’re not exactly poised to win now. Not yet.

The Rangers are the most interesting name in that they’re a winning team and one who has signed big names before, but I don’t know that we have anything close to a clear idea if they’ll be a big player in free agency.  A new TV deal in place could mean that they’ll spend more, but not necessarily.

I guess what I’m seeing here is that, with the Yankees and Red Sox likely not a big player for a first baseman, the market is as murky as hell.  Assuming that like most free agents, Prince Fielder wants to play for a winner, there’s no clear-cut destination. Some teams may win, some teams may pay, but it’s hard to identify anyone who would do both.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.