Zduriencik keeping quiet on Prince pursuit

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik prefers keeping things close to the vest, to the point where he declined to say Monday whether his team is in pursuit of free agent Prince Fielder.

 Without naming names, however, Zduriencik seemed to acknowledge that he’s talking with agent Scott Boras about the slugging first baseman as the Winter Meetings opened Monday in the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas.

“I don’t think I can go down that road yet,” he said Monday evening when asked what he could say about the Mariners interest in Fielder. “I’ve had discussions with some prominent agents. We’ve discussed their clients as well as our organizational needs. That’s pretty much all I can say right now.”

The Fielder question looms large, as the Mariners – or any interested team – must decide whether to hold substantial salary space for that push or to go forward with other signings.

“I think you have to be patient in the process, but there’s also a point where you get to an end game and you have to make a decision and do what you think will help you going forward,” Zduriencik said. “You get a little better feel as time goes on. Three days from now we’ll probably know more. But when you really have a feel for where years or dollars are ending up on any of these free agents, [you know] if you’re in or you’re out.”

The Fielder situation is interesting because more teams at this point seem to be indicating they’re not willing to jump in on the 27-year-old, whose price figures to be high as one of the game’s premier power hitters coming available in his prime. Fielder hit 38 home runs with 120 RBIs this past season when he finished third in the National League MVP voting after posting a .299/.415/.566 line.

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