Scott Boras and Prince Fielder are kickin' it old school, as the, well, middle-aged people say.
For the past eight days they've been on the road, touring major league towns as Fielder's free agency nears its happy place, like an old-fashioned recruiting trip.
Boras wouldn't identify the teams they have visited, but the journey has gone on long enough that Boras has nicknamed Fielder "PF Flyer."
(PF Flyers, you may not recall, are sneakers that back in the day looked and felt a lot like Chuck Taylors. In my neighborhood, your mom bought you PF Flyers if she couldn't afford the Chucks, and close wasn't close enough to escape the ragging one endured for it. Thank god the Puma Clydes arrived one Christmas.)
The marketplace is all Fielder's now, and while Boras refused to divulge how many teams that entailed, he did say, "Enough."
He added that a few stops do remain.
Nearly everyone could use a Fielder, though his market has been difficult to define, considering the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are locked in at first base and Fielder, at 27, won't require the luxury of a DH for years, and the Los Angeles teams are close to tapped out, though for entirely different reasons.
Still, you could make a case for a dozen or so clubs where a slugger and first baseman and leader and all-around solid human being might fit, and then where the economics might match up.
Asked if the Yu Darvish resolution might have loosened some conversations – bidding clubs other than the Rangers presumably have $20 million or more (the Blue Jays reportedly have $50 million) to spend – Boras said several clubs actually had used the prospect of adding Darvish as an inducement to Fielder.
More likely, Boras said, Darvish coming off the board triggered greater interest in the likes of Edwin Jackson, a Boras client, and perhaps also Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt, and probably won't influence Fielder.
A report Tuesday said the Mariners had made an offer. The Mariners shot that down. Another report had the Rangers out on Fielder, while another had them still in. Reports on the Cubs' involvement have been all over the place.
Either way, Boras will be back in Newport Beach, Calif. in a few days, and Fielder back in Orlando, and then time becomes more critical.
"Things can happen quickly," Boras said, "and they can happen methodically. We'll just see."
• Oswalt, who was on the disabled list twice last season because of back ailments, might be willing to sign a one-year contract, according to ESPN.com. That certainly would open up his market. The Red Sox and Yankees make the most sense. Oswalt is just 34 and a year removed from that 7-1, 1.74 ERA run with the Philadelphia Phillies in the second half of '10. …
• From a baseball insider, on why some Japanese pitchers lose their effectiveness in the states: the weather is hotter, the travel is more difficult, they pitch more often and their innings – against lineups with far more power – become more stressful. The last reason is the most important, the insider said, and the reason Daisuke Matsuzaka – for one – became bat shy. There are far fewer easy innings in the U.S. major leagues. "The whole psychology changes," the insider said.
• Mike "Year of the" Napoli and the Rangers are discussing a long-term contract extension, according to ESPNDallas. …
• The Red Sox, Reds and, according to WEEI.com, the Angels are considering closer Francisco Cordero. …
[ Related: Massive Yu Darvish bid is wise gamble for Rangers ]
• Former Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros GM Ed Wade has returned to Philadelphia to work for GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Wade told the Houston Chronicle, "I'm prepared for the remarks that I only traded with the Phillies so Ruben would give me a job if I got fired."
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- Scott Boras