Jamie Mottram: It’s been months, and “the Nats look like Prince Fielder favorites,” but I’m still not sure I want him on the Nats, nor do I have a good sense of what it’ll take to get him. I’m pretty sure I’m against it, though, mostly because I don’t want to sink big money into a big first baseman, even one who’s relatively young and can really rake. How about you?
Andy Peden: I’m adamantly opposed to signing him for more than six years. Five is better, but I might bite at six. When he slows down, there is nowhere to hid him, so an eight- or 10-year deal is a death sentence. They already have a long-term issue with Werth. But since the market hasn’t developed like Boras wanted, maybe a five- or six-year deal worth $23-$25 million is possible.
If you do sign him, you obviously trade LaRoche at some point for whatever you can get. And I think you pray Morse has a good first half and you trade him as well. Long term, Morse will have to be at 1B. With Prince signed, we would be committing to him at 1B, Harper in CF or RF and Werth either at LF or CF. With that said, even with a shorter-term deal, I’m probably against signing him. In the NL, I think you want to keep flexibility at 1B. At some point, Morse, Zim or even Werth might end up there.
My expectation is we don’t sign Prince, trade LaRoche at the deadline and then move Morse to 1B just about the time Harper makes his debut.
JP Finlay: I’m torn. I think he could be a lot of fun and the Nats lineup would be pretty loaded. The excitement of Opening Day with Strasburg on the mound and Prince hitting cleanup is almost impossible to imagine. The city would go nuts, something needed between the Wiz, Skins and even the Caps. A fat dude hitting a lot of home runs would definitely be fun.
Looking at it pragmatically, I don’t like it. I think Zim deserves to be a career National, and for that to happen we’ll probably eventually move him to 1B. Especially if this kid Rendon is as good as everyone says he is.
Plus there is the Morse situation. I like Morse, a lot, and think he could be almost as good as Prince and significantly cheaper. Not to mention some of the worries with Prince (health, fitness, fatness) don’t exist with Morse. At least fitness and fatness.
Bottom line for me: Prince will cost too much money in a position we don’t really need. If we get some short-term deal, five years or under, take it, but I don’t see Boras letting that happen. I’d rather wait until next year — and extend Zim — and get the CF the Nats need.
Kogod: I tend to agree with JP and Andy. If they can get him for a relative bargain then I’d be on board. If they hadn’t committed so much to Werth I might be more eager, but having them both under contract through 2018 doesn’t seem prudent.
Chris Mottram: Anything beyond a five- or six-year deal is complete insanity. Prince will be 28 when the season starts. It’s hard to imagine there won’t be a dramatic decline in his production by the time he’s 34, not to mention him becoming a liability in the field [via aforementioned fatness]. For (possibly unfair) comparison’s sake, his father’s production fell off a cliff at age 33.
JP made the best point: It’s a ton of money for a spot the Nats can fill with the players currently in their system. Prince’s bat in the lineup would be huge, assuming his production continues, but the Werth deal (and being a D.C. sports fan, in general) makes me extremely gun-shy about supporting another $120+ million contract. I’d prefer the team continues to build around what they have and find out the roles their current young players can fill before handing out more massive contracts to free agent hitters.
Jamie Mottram: So I guess we’re against it.