Though the 2011 season is just two months old, it’s never too early to look to the future. That’s exactly what a number of baseball analysts have done this week, as Danny Knobler of CBS Sports predicts that the Orioles are looking to spend this offseason and their target is none other than free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
Fans have tied the Orioles to Prince Fielder for a few seasons, hoping that the club could either put together a deal for the big slugger or go after him on the free agent market this season. Skeptics will point to the O’s recent history in the free agent market, but 2011 looks to be perfect for the club to let loose and bring Fielder to Baltimore.
Unlike their neighbors, the Nationals, Baltimore acquired their free agent first baseman, Derrek Lee, to a one year contract as opposed to Washington who signed Adam LaRoche to a two year deal. Fortunately for the O’s, the big targets in the AL East, the Yankees and Red Sox, already have their first baseman locked up in Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez.
Knobler also writes that he believes Fielder will not resign with the Brewers next season. ”Fielder is almost certainly a lame duck with the Brewers, who elected to keep him for a run at a championship this year but are extreme longshots for a deal that would keep him away from free agency after the season,” he wrote.
MLBTradeRumors.com points out that the Orioles will have over $18 million coming off their books in 2012 before accounting for players making the league minimum. It’s estimated that Fielder will be looking for at least $22 million per season in a multi-year deal. The O’s did reportedly go over their budgeted payroll this season when they signed DH Vladimir Guerrero to a one year, $8 million deal.
The Baltimore Sun reported last offseason that the club has already been in contact with Fielder in “normal conversation.”
Time will tell, but for now, it certainly is exciting to think about the Prince in Oriole orange cranking balls out on to Eutaw Street.