Poor Prince Fielder. Three months into the offseason and he still can’t make a decision.
Wonder why Fielder has walked more than 100 times in each of the last three seasons? See how he picks a new team. Or not. If he’s as selective next season in picking a pitch to hit as he has been this winter in picking a team, he may not swing till June.
We’re here to help. Like the average guy — and Prince is just your average slugging, slow, poor-fielding, 275-pound vegetarian first baseman with a famous father — a checklist is what Fielder needs to help him make a decision.
Here it is, for all the possible places Prince might be going. And as Prince ponders, he might want to remember it’s only a month before spring training camps open. Some team is going to need time to get a uniform in his size ready.
But wherever Prince goes, he shouldn’t worry. For $20 million a year, how wrong can it be?
Advantage: If Fielder has a bad year, who’s going to notice $20 million wasted in D.C.? OK, besides Jayson Werth.
Disadvantage: Last great baseball player brought to Washington was Joe Hardy, who arrived courtesy of Mr. Applegate, aka the devil. Comparisons to Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, will be too easy.
Advantage: After what Ryan Braun evidently put into his body, Brewers’ fans won’t much care what Fielder stuffs into his mouth.
Disadvantage: Milwaukee isn’t really the place for vegetarians. Having vegan bratwurst is a contradiction, like decaffeinated coffee or non-alcoholic beer. You get none of the pleasure and all of the discomfort.
Advantage: Big is good in Texas, and bigger is better. Where else does someone as big as Fielder belong but Texas? In Texas, they might want Fielder enlarged.
Disadvantage: The heat of Texas will be upon him. What if he loses weight? Will he lose his power?
Advantage: No pressure. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in more than 100 years. If they sign Fielder and still don’t, obviously it wasn’t just Fielder’s fault.
Disadvantage: Like a lot of surnames, Prince can’t do what his suggests. Fielder is liable to get hurt chasing a wind-blown Wrigley Field pop-up, go on the disabled list, see Bryan LaHair called up and hit like he did in AAA last year (.331 average, 38 homers, .664 slugging) and lose his $20 million a year job to a guy making the major-league minimum.
Advantage: With Victor Martinez out for the year, the Tigers are desperate for a big bat, and Prince can wear the uniform in which his father Cecil hit 245 of his 319 career home runs.
Disadvantage: The two Fielders are reportedly estranged, and Prince will get tired of questions about dad before he deposits his first million. Good luck to the writer that asks the question that finally frays Prince’s nerves.
Advantage: The Mariners will appreciate him. Or they should. Miguel Olivo led the team last year with 19 home runs. That’s half as many as Fielder. Plus, do the Mariners really want Jesus Montero to be mentored by Casper Wells?
Disadvantage: Lots of intentional walks. And that means Fielder doing what he does worst: running the bases. Fielder approaches second base like a school bus driver crossing railroad tracks — he stops, looks and listens before he moves again. Fielder had 75 extra-base hits, 95 singles and 107 walks last year, yet scored just 95 runs (or 57 that weren’t by his home runs).
Advantage: Home runs, and lots of them. If Fielder is in the same lineup with Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays may do more jogging the bases than running them.
Disadvantage: Might take up ice skating. And break the ice if he falls.
Advantage: Japanese sports fans have long admired athletes with Prince’s physique.
Disadvantage: Those admired athletes are all sumo wrestlers, and Prince only wrestles with ground balls.