Some members of the Washington Nationals ownership would prefer that the team pass on free-agent Prince Fielder in order to focus on getting an everyday center fielder next season, sources have told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Currently the Nationals are considered one of the favorites to land the All-Star slugger, however despite weeks of negotiations no deal has yet been made between the two sides. The team currently has Adam LaRoche under contract to play first base in 2012, and according to Rosenthal, some in the ownership group would like to keep him there this season and move Michael Morse to first base in 2013. This would create an opening in the outfield for the team to bring in an everyday center fielder next season.
The Nationals have been attempting to acquire a player who can play centerfield every day for the past several seasons but have not been able to complete a deal. B.J. Upton, a player who the team has targeted to acquire via trade several times in the past, is slotted to be a free-agent following this season and could be a potential fit in Washington. Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino, Torii Hunter, and Josh Hamilton are other potential outfielders who could be available in 2013. Fielder, the game’s top remaining free-agent, hit .299/.415/.566 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI in 162 games last year for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 27-year-old has been one of the more consistent players in the majors over the past several seasons. In 998 career games, he has amassed a .282 career batting average, 230 home runs and 656 RBIs.