As if Seattle Mariners fans haven't had to deal with enough rumors surrounding the potential signing of first baseman Prince Fielder(notes), that drama increased even more on Tuesday night (Dec. 6). ESPN and MLB Network contributor Jim Bowden took to his Twitter account to reveal that the Mariners are now the front-runners to sign Fielder. The other teams reportedly vying for Fielder include the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays.
It's hard not to get excited about this news from Bowden, especially because signing Fielder would show how committed the front office is to putting a winner of the field next season. There are definitely some holes that still need to get filled, but putting Fielder in the center of that lineup would certainly keep the Mariners from having the worst offensive statistics in baseball again in 2012.
Now even though Bowden stated that the Mariners are the front-runners, it can change in a moment if the Brewers decided to offer a really nice contract extension. One of the other possible suitors could also step up, especially the Cubs if they fail in the pursuit of Albert Pujols(notes). If Pujols decides to sign a deal with the Miami Marlins, that would leave Fielder as the only game-changer (on offense) left on the open market. That might cause the Cubs to panic and offer up a crazy deal to bring him to Chicago.
It is almost to the point where it would help every Mariners fan if Fielder would just sign a contract with some team. If he is going to come to Seattle, then we can wait for that to take place, but if he is heading in another direction, the Mariners need to have the time to move on to other options this offseason.
There are those in the Mariners fan base that worry Fielder would turn into just another high-priced free agent that would lose his power stroke in Safeco Field. I disagree with that assessment, especially with what he brings to the table from the left side of the plate. He could help drive in runs and protect whoever bats behind him in the lineup. If Dustin Ackley(notes) is the hitter batting in front of him, he will see many more fastballs that could help Ackley's batting average really sky-rocket. The team would get much better with Fielder agreeing to come to the Pacific Northwest, but I am not closer to believing that will take place than I was on Monday (Dec. 5).