What it means to be “in on” Fielder

Enough days have passed since the Winter Meetings that I wanted to bring up Prince Fielder’s name again. The timing just seemed right. And I was developing a twitch.

I’m not going to make any guarantees regarding Fielder except that I’ll mention him again in a few weeks if he’s still on the market. You can take that one to the bank.

The Orioles didn’t appear to have much interest in Vladimir Guerrero last winter, but they kept monitoring the situation, the market dried up, owner Peter Angelos shelled out another $3 million and the future Hall of Famer was introduced on opening day. Anything is possible.

The Cubs looked like favorites to sign Fielder, but they might have turned their attention to Padres Triple-A first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The Rangers might not have enough money left over after courting Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The Angels have Albert Pujols. The Marlins are still hoping to buy the state of Florida.

However, I seriously doubt that Fielder is going to fall in a team’s lap. And I’ll refrain from making the obvious joke.

Agent Scott Boras is making the rounds with Fielder, as Tim Brown reported for Yahoo! Sports. The Mariners and Blue Jays are two possibilities. And you just know that a mystery team will surface. It always does with a Boras client.

As they did last winter, the Orioles are keeping a close watch on the market and will act accordingly. They’ll check whether Fielder’s price comes down. They’re not going to pay an exorbitant amount for a first baseman. They’re fully prepared to go into the 2012 season with Mark Reynolds at first. They could move Chris Davis across the diamond if Reynolds is dealt.

Are the Orioles interested in Fielder? Yes. Executive vice president Dan Duquette met with Boras in Dallas.

Are they “in on” him? Well, they’re not out.

Fielder reportedly wants a contract similar to the 10-year, $254 million deal that Pujols signed with the Angels at the Winter Meetings. It’s not going to come from the Orioles. They’re not venturing into that neighborhood.

Don’t count out the Orioles just yet, but don’t count on Fielder coming to Baltimore. Not unless the market and his expectations change. Not unless he somehow falls into their laps.

That’ll leave a mark.

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