There is no hiding the fact that the Seattle Mariners want to make a splash this offseason. The organization already has a few pieces in place to restore the team back to its glory days and the addition of a superstar slugger like Prince Fielder would be absolutely huge for both attendance and on-field production. According to the latest update from Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, the Mariners are one of the few teams bidding for his services:
If Fielder signed with the team that wanted him the most, he would become a Mariner tomorrow. The franchise must reassert its relevancy after consecutive last-place finishes and an accompanying sag in attendance. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik drafted Fielder in Milwaukee. But there are three strikes against Seattle: No big-league city is farther from Orlando; the team lacks an obvious candidate to offer lineup protection; and the Mariners are more than a few players away from becoming a playoff team.
Morosi goes on to list the Cubs as the favorites to land Fielder for a multitude of reasons, although it has been rumored that new GM Theo Epstein does not feel comfortable handing out a monster contract just a few weeks into his tenure in Chicago.
He also brings up a fair amount of questions with Seattle. While the franchise certainly has the funds available to make Fielder a filthy rich man, they are unlikely to be in playoff contention until 2013 at the earliest. For a player who has been on the cusp of a World Series appearance the last few seasons, he may not want to head into the bottom half of the AL West for the foreseeable future.
There is also the national exposure issue; with Seattle being isolated and having many of the games played once those on the east coast have already gone to sleep, Prince may not want to play in front of only a local market. Should he go to Chicago or Baltimore, he would be in the limelight on a nightly basis.
It is unclear at this time which team leads for Fielder, but we should have a much better idea in the coming days. Stay tuned, Mariners fans.
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