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Heyman: The Orioles are frontrunners for Fielder

BaseballBaltimore OriolesPeter G. AngelosPrince FielderJayson WerthMark ReynoldsBoston Red Sox

The Orioles, who can officially avoid the 100-loss plateau with one win in Monday's doubleheader against the Red Sox, haven’t made a big splash in free agency in recent years -- unless you count overpaying for Zombie Vladimir Guerrero or inking the immortal Garrett Atkins -- but Jon Heyman says this winter could be different.

Heyman, who is a national baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, believes the Orioles are the favorites to sign Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who said last week that this is likely his last season in Milwaukee.

“They've used power-hitting but strikeout-prone Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis at first base since trading Derrek Lee, but it isn't certain how sold they are on either one,” Heyman speculated. “They tried for Baltimore native Mark Teixeira three winters ago, and there are whispers Orioles owner Peter Angelos may open his checkbook.”

Fielder, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, is making $15.5 million this year and is said to want a nine-figure contract. And if Jayson Werth got one, you can be sure Fielder will get his, too.

The 27-year-old slugger is an MVP candidate in the National League this season. He is batting .296 with 33 doubles, 34 home runs and 112 runs batted in. He has hit 196 homers in the past five seasons.

Obviously, that kind of production would look great on paper here in Baltimore, which in recent years has had a revolving door at first base. But it’s going take a lot of paper to convince him to sign here.

I’m talking more than a hundred million in mesothelioma money. Will Peter Angelos be willing to pony it up?

*** This post has been updated since its first publication.

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