The Washington Nationals have long been rumored to be the “front runners” in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. They have the money and they certainly don’t have a star blocking the position (Yankees, Angels, Sox). That being said, the Nats have been playing the role of the tortoise in the race. Rizzo and co. have been unwilling to state much interest in the portly, slugging 1st baseman. Sure, the strategy is smart. Even if the Nationals are truly planning on signing Prince, there is no need to announce interest and drive up the price tag. As fans, all we can do it wait and ponder what Prince Fielder would mean to the team and the organization.
Three Outcomes of a Prince Fielder Signing:
- The “Howard Factor” for Mr. Werth – It is no secret that Jayson Werth underachieved in his first year as a National, leading many to declare that his former numbers were a product of Philadelphia’s deep line-up. Prince would provide some thump in the middle of the order and provide Jayson with the same type support he had in Philadelphia during the championship years. Jayson may not be the hitter the Nats thought they were getting, but they can certainly improve his numbers by adding Prince in the cleanup spot.
- Excitement in the DC area - If last year’s near .500 finish and the acquisition of Gio Gonzales don’t fire up the fan base, there isn’t much else that will – unless the Nats bring in Prince. Fielder is the type of marquis name that will bring fans to Nationals Park. Don’t think it’s possible? See Ovechkin, Alex of the Washington Capitals. D.C. is an event town. If the Lerners want to fill the seats, they need more than a phenom pitcher who appears once every 5 days.
- Depth and Flexibility – The acquisition of Prince Fielder would provide the Nats with a roster full of options. Davey would have a field day playing around with the order every night, allowing for chances to rest key players periodically. While the fielding situation would be a little cloudy given the current roster make-up, Fielder would give the Nats a chance to trade LaRoche for some farm system depth (which is much needed after the Gio trade)
We can’t do much but speculate now, but the implications of Prince in DC could reach far beyond the batting order.