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MLB Trade Rumors: Are the Dodgers the Favorite to Sign Prince Fielder?

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Now that the Rangers have signed Yu Darvish, there is talk that they may now focus their efforts on signing Prince Fielder to bolster their lineup and in response to the Angels signing Albert Pujols. But, their funds may be limited, and the Rangers front office is saying it is "unlikely" they will sign him. That's front office speak for "we are waiting for his price to come down" and "we aren't going to announce that we have interest BEFORE we sign him".

So, if the Rangers are out of the running for Fielder, who else is interested? The common belief is that the Nationals make the most sense. But, today, over at ESPN Rumor Central, there was this little nugget of info:

Sources told Rumor Central Friday that the Nationals' interest has been grossly overblown and the club now has Mike Morse and Adam LaRoche under contract for a combined $19.5 million. Morse through 2013, LaRoche through next season.

Here, again, is an example of the Nationals positioning themselves as not being interested in an attempt to reduce the price/terms of a possible deal for Fielder. Or are they, in fact, out of the running for Fielder. There has been rumors that they want to sign third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to an extension, which makes sense, as he is one of the best at his position in the game. Could the Nationals be ready to move on with Adam Laroche at first base and Michael Morse in left field this season?

And are the Dodgers ready to swoop in on Fielder? More after the jump:

So, what are the chances that both the Rangers and the Nationals are actually out of the running for Fielder, and that good old fashioned "mystery" team (aka LA Dodgers) gets involved? I have written about the many reasons why the Dodgers would have interest, and Frank McCourt will find out how much he will be able to sell the team for this week as bids are due on Monday, if I am not mistaken. Could McCourt go out and sign Fielder after learning what the highest bid is? Some have estimated that he may get bids as high as $1.50 - 1.75 billion for the team in the auction.

Here is what Joel Sherman, from the New York Post, tweeted earlier this afternoon:

Joel Sherman
Stuff I heard and learned at BBWAA dinner: 1) surprising number of execs think will ultimately be in play for Prince Fielder

I guess I am not out of my mind in thinking....wishing....that the Dodgers will be involved in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. I actually called in to the Inside Pitch show a few weeks ago to ask Casey Stern and Jim Bowden their thoughts on this possibility, and, while not dismissing it, felt the Nationals were the favorite to sign Fielder.

If the Dodgers sign Fielder, I think they become the favorites to win the NL West, as the Diamondbacks won't win 94 games like they did in 2011, the Giants offense still needs some work, and the Rockies pitching staff is still a work in progress. The Dodgers roster will feature 3 legitimate stars in Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Fielder, should he sign with the team, and they could still make moves at the trade deadline for other pieces (i.e. third base, second base, left field), if needed.

What do FakeTeams readers think?