Looking at the Prince Fielder question

Prince Fielder is a big bopper who would look nice in a Mariners uniform, but it figures to be a long shot that he'll wind up in Seattle. (Getty Images)

Jack Zduriencik held a conference call with reporters this afternoon and largely reiterated what he told me earlier for this Winter Meetings preview story that went up this morning on Mariners.com.

In short, he’s interested– either via trade or free agency — in adding a left-hander in the bullpen, a veteran starting pitcher, a backup shortstop and, yes, a bat.

The bat everyone wants to talk about is Prince Fielder and Zduriencik indeed told me for my earlier story that the Mariners would “go down that road” and see where it leads, while acknowledging the cost and length of contract could be difficult.

Not to throw cold water on all the fun, but my sense is Fielder remains a very long shot to wind up in a Mariners uniform for a variety of reasons, foremost being that Fielder himself may not have a rebuilding Seattle ballclub first on his list and it thus would take a way-over-market bid to land him. It does take two to tango in free agency, remember.

The Mariners will do their due diligence and find out what the market looks like, but Zduriencik sidestepped most of the Prince questions in the conference call.

“There are a few options out there that would fill some needs,” he said. “On any of these things, you have to figure out where it ends up. Lots of time the years, dollars and where you currently stand are factors.

“There’s a point with any player that you can go down a road a certain distance and then at the end, find out it’s not where you want to go. We’ll explore several options, even via trade if possible. But there aren’t any promises on these things. You don’t know the other party’s sincere desire. Those are all things that need to be gauged and we’re doing that with a lot of players.”

Zduriencik was the Brewers scouting director when Milwaukee drafted Fielder in the first round in 2004, but he doesn’t think that carries much weight. And he’s right. If Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara becomes a GM in Milwaukee in six years, does that mean Dustin Ackley will automatically want to sign with the Brewers? No offense to Tom, but probably not.

“I’ve known Prince since he was young kid in high school,” Zduriencik said. “But in the end, Prince or any player has to do what is in their best interest. It’s nice you have a relationship and that might get them to open the door and listen, but we’re all adults and when a player earns free agency, they’ll probably do what is in their best interest and relationships become secondary.”

Zduriencik didn’t cover much new ground in the conference call, other than acknowledging that the club does not have any firm offers out to free agent as of today.

“No, I’d say at this point in time we do not have any offers,” he said. “We’ve had dialogue with a lot of different entities, but no offers on the table.”

The Winter Meetings start Monday in Dallas and that four-day run figures to bring more news, so stay tuned.

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