Zduriencik: Rumors of Prince offer baseless

Zduriencik: Rumors of Prince offer baseless

Zduriencik: Rumors of Prince offer baseless
SEATTLE -- A simple tweet by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggesting the Mariners have talked contract parameters with free-agent slugger Prince Fielder got the Hot Stove boiling a bit Tuesday afternoon, but Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said he's not sure "where all this is coming from."

Heyman reported that the Mariners "made Prince Fielder an offer [or at least told him what they'd pay]," but that "Seattle people love him, but said to have $ limits."

That mirrors what Zduriencik has said all along with regard to Fielder -- that the club has interest, but also has a "threshold" of how far it can go in terms of dollars and length of contract.

Contacted by MLB.com, Zduriencik maintained the same stance he's had since the free-agent period began last month.

"I got a bunch of calls this morning on a bunch of subjects and players we're connected with," he said. "But I'm not going to comment on free-agent players. That's the end of it. We'll do our due diligence, and I'm not going to say anything more."

Fielder, 27, is reportedly seeking a long-term contract that approaches the 10-year, $254 million deal Albert Pujols signed with the Angels two weeks ago. The Cubs and Rangers may also be potential suitors for Fielder, and Heyman reported Tuesday that the Orioles may also be involved.

Fielder, an All-Star in three of the past five years, has hit at least 32 home runs in five straight seasons. He batted .282 and drilled 230 homers and 656 RBIs in his first seven seasons with Milwaukee.

The power-hitting first baseman matched his career high with a .299 batting average last season and established a new personal best with a .415 on-base percentage.

But the market has been somewhat slow to develop for Fielder, as agent Scott Boras doesn't have the normal big-money teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies in pursuit of a first baseman.

The Mariners certainly could use the offensive boost after finishing last in the American League in scoring for three consecutive years, but most teams in contention appear reluctant to pursue the type of mega-deal that would rival what Pujols just landed in Anaheim.

Zduriencik is well aware that the AL West-rival Angels and Rangers have made major splashes this offseason, but indicated that shouldn't lead the Mariners to panic and veer from their own plan.

"There's no question that both those clubs have helped themselves and both were really good as it was," he said. "Now, the Angels get Pujols and [C.J.] Wilson and Texas gets Yu Darvish. But we're not going to deviate from our course. We're a little further away than those clubs. We have a plan in place.

"I really like our pitching at the upper Minor League level and on our Major League staff. We're not going to make any decisions that will hurt our long-term plan. We're doing what we're doing, and when it's the right time, whether now or in the future, we'll do what needs to be done. We're not going to change from that."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.