In early November, I wrote that the Los Angeles Dodgers should sign Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols even though the team was in bankruptcy, even though the team was for sale.
“If anything, the signing of such a player might be the perfect first step as the Dodgers prepare to negotiate their new TV contract and rebuild their season-ticket base,” I said then.
Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, agreed, saying, “If you’re going to optimize the TV value, you’re going to do it with ratings and stars.”
Sure enough, the Dodgers tried to do just that, making a strong run at Fielder before he signed with the Detroit Tigers, according to major-league sources.
The Dodgers’ offer, first reported by CBSSports.com, would have included an early opt-out provision, the source said. The deal, if it had come to fruition, would have been in the seven-year, $160 million range. Fielder signed with the Tigers for nine years, $214 million.
As it turned out, the Dodgers recognized that they stood little chance on Fielder nearly a week before he agreed with Detroit. At that point, Boras informed them that were $50 million to $60 million short of an offer that he already had — the offer that turned out to be the Tigers’.
“It didn’t get to the ninth inning. It got to about the sixth inning,” the source said.
Owner Frank McCourt, however, clearly viewed Fielder as a way to enhance the value of the club, which is in the process of being sold.
The pairing of Fielder and center fielder Matt Kemp, both 27, would have given the Dodgers a dynamic middle of the order, if only for a few seasons before Fielder opted out.
— Ken Rosenthal