Rumor: “Pillow Pact” Possible for…?
DISCLAIMER: What you are about to read was told to me when I asked what news might there be that would be qualified as “HUGE” that could have presented itself within the past couple of days. Please read everything before you jump to any conclusions and remember that I am not saying that what is laid out will happen for sure. Nothing is ever for sure when it comes to free agency until a contract is actually signed. As with my previous post about Zack Greinke approaching the team about a contract extension, this is officially just a rumor. While I am confident that Greinke did approach the team, it doesn’t mean that anything will for sure ever come of it.
Make sense? I sure hope so.
Earlier this morning on Twitter, a follower of mine posed a question to me @BrewerNation.
He tweeted: “a friend inside the organization told me today that there will be HUGE news out of MKE in the next two days. Any ideas?”
To paraphrase my reply, I responded that I had a couple of ideas on what it could be that would qualify as “HUGE” but that I’d make a call about it since nobody had directly shared anything with me to that point.
I reached out to someone that I trust and was told about an idea that had been presented to the team at some point yesterday.
Allow me to again throw the (unfortunately) necessary disclaimer out at this time:
Please read all of the following things that I was told before jumping to a conclusion about the subject matter. Nothing you are about to read is confirmed as happening for sure.
This was simply an idea that was brought to the Brewers by an individual. Surrounding circumstances help to support this idea as being legitimate not only in potential execution but also in having actually come about as I’ve been told.
What are some of those circumstances, you ask?
- Scott Boras was at the Owners’ Meetings in Arizona to discuss some of his clients with different teams. (For example, he is believed to have had a meeting with the Yankees about Edwin Jackson.)
- Boras had a conversation of some kind* with either one or both of the Washington Nationals owners.
- The market hasn’t materialized regarding some of Boras’ clients as they thought it would.
- Boras stated to the media today that he’d have Prince Fielder signed somewhere before Spring Training began.
Yes, Brewer Nation, the idea that I was told about is that super-agent Scott Boras approached the Milwaukee Brewers with an idea for what can only be described as a “fall back option”, if you ask me.
He suggested that if he doesn’t have anything else in place that they like by the end of January, Prince would agree to come back to Milwaukee on (at least) a one-year deal with a full no-trade clause. A dollar figure was quoted to me with the caveat that they often change so I won’t bother to pass that along at this time.
The Brewers reportedly agreed to that idea and also proposed an additional option of a three-year pact. No word on whether Boras…I mean Fielder…would consider that or not.
So there you have it. Like I said, having a tentative agreement of sorts in place with Milwaukee could easily allow Boras to play it against teams practicing feet-dragging like the Washington Nationals, thereby prompting their conversation yesterday. Boras might have said something like “I have something else in place if you guys don’t step up your offer. The time is now if you truly want your organization to take the next step.”
I said on Twitter that this is decidedly in the “believe it when I see it” category because, like many others, I just don’t see how taking a one-year deal makes financial sense for Prince Fielder. I understand the arguments for it, but they are mostly intangible in nature.
Then again, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t welcome the idea with open arms. I’ve said to anyone willing to listen that I’d gladly and knowingly accept five years of awful baseball teams down the road while Mark Attanasio recovers from any financial hardships brought on by breaking his budget for one year and resigning Prince. I’d love it. I’d trumpet it. I’d buy a 20-game pack per season knowing I might see 15 losses every time.
Scott Boras does have limited (though recent) history of doing what he calls a “pillow pact”. It’s where he signs a one-year contract to better position his client for free agency the following year. He’s done it with Adrian Beltre in Boston and this off-season with Ryan Madson in Cincinnati.
I was also told several weeks ago that Fielder had instructed Boras to consider fewer dollars if the offer was coming from a perennial contender. In other words, if your team is usually awful and you want me to play for you, it’ll cost more. That would obviously be unrelated to accepting a one-year deal, but it lends itself to the idea that Fielder might be realizing that an 8yr/$200MM contract just isn’t going to happen this off-season with the biggest spenders unable or unwilling to splurge at this time.
All of that doesn’t mean that I think it will happen. History shows that someone will step up, and if we’ve learned only one thing over the years of Boras’ contract negotiations, it’s that all it takes is one. (To reiterate the record if you haven’t seen me say it before, I’ve been saying since last April or longer that if Prince leaves Milwaukee it makes the most sense to sign with the Rangers.)
Once again jumping the fence post though, I have also said that until Prince Fielder’s name is signed to a contract for the 2012 season, there’s always a chance –however remote– that Fielder could play again in a Brewers uniform.
I don’t want to get hopes up only to have them dashed if Boras finds one team to pay what he and Fielder were originally looking for, but I wanted to pass along this information anyway…
Just in case.
*Some say it was a conversation about Prince Fielder. Another report says it was a casual conversation as Boras was walking through the parking lot.
UPDATE: I’ve seen a tweet from @BillShaikin of the L.A. Times mentioning this same topic but stating that it was the Brewers who approached Boras and he laughed at the idea. Obviously that’s the public stance that Boras must take right now so that it doesn’t appear to teams willing to go multiple years on a contract offer that he’s willing to take a one-year deal instead.
Clearly this idea is one that people are hearing about, so hopefully that lends validity to my report as well.