Updating the Prince Fielder market: Cubs, Nats, Jays

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Newsday‘s Ken Davidoff has some fresh insight on the eerily silent Prince Fielder sweepstakes.

Fielder “wanted the Cubs” because he has superb career numbers at Wrigley Field, and the two Chicago airports provide easy access (i.e. direct flights) to his Florida home. But, as we’ve addressed already on this blog, the Northsiders are in full rebuilding mode under new president Theo Epstein.

The Nationals had some interest, and might still be lingering, but they’ve turned “a little gun-shy” after dishing out a seven-year, $126 million contract last offseason to overall disappointment Jayson Werth.

Many have suggested that the Blue Jays might be the darkhorse, but they “won’t commit beyond five years.”

In other words, it’s anyone’s guess as to where Fielder will ultimately end up. But it’s now January 2012, and it’s probably closing in on crunch time for super-agent Scott Boras and his big fish client.

Fielder, 27, owns a .929 career OPS and slugged 38 home runs alongside a .299/.415/.566 slash line last year for Milwaukee. He’s thought to be seeking a deal similar to what Albert Pujols got from the Angels.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.