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Volume 24 No. 176
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MLB Franchise Notes: Dodgers Made Late Play To Sign Prince Fielder

In L.A., Dylan Hernandez reports the Dodgers were "secretly in at the end" of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, "losing out only when the Tigers upped the ante after learning last week that Victor Martinez had severely injured a knee and probably will sit out the upcoming season." Sources said that the Dodgers offered Fielder "$160 million over seven years." The Dodgers went into the offseason "with about $90 million budgeted for the salaries of the 25 players who will be on their opening-day roster." But outgoing Owner Frank McCourt "was willing to add $25 million or so for Fielder -- and Fielder only." Sources said that McCourt and GM Ned Colletti "were also mindful that a potential bidder for the team might not want to inherit a seven-year contract" (L.A. TIMES, 1/27).

WINNING IS THE ONLY THING: MLB Network’s Tom Verducci discussed the Tigers signing Fielder and said of Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch, “There’s probably only a handful, maybe a little more, of owners who wake up every morning and they think about winning the World Series every day, even when its January. Ilitch is one of those guys." The Fielder deal "cost a lot of money," and people "are criticizing the money of the deal." But Verducci said, "The fact is he got a guy who he thinks is going to get him -- finally -- his first ring” ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 1/26). 

NOWHERE TO GO BUT DOWN: ESPN N.Y.'s Adam Rubin noted after Mets GM Sandy Alderson "revealed the organization lost $70 million last year, the Mets appear poised to have the biggest one-year payroll drop in MLB history -- roughly $52 million." Rubin indicated the drop "would surpass the former record: $48.4 million by the" Rangers from '03 to '04. The Marlins from '05 to '06 "had the biggest reduction by percentage, trimming nearly 75 percent of their payroll, but the total was $45.4 million." If the Wilpon family is to "survive as Mets owners -- which is their intent -- the austerity likely will continue into future offseasons, meaning fans bear the brunt of the payroll constraints with a less-than-optimal product" (, 1/23).

ENERGY BOOST? The co-hosts of MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” discussed the Astros possibly changing their team name during the “Real or Rumor” segment. MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian said, “New Owner Jim Crane is kicking the tires on the idea of changing the name of the Astros. Real or rumor: The Houston franchise will be renamed the Houston Energy for 2013.” The four co-hosts began laughing, with MLB Network’s Verducci shaking his head and saying, “No, no please. How bad is that? It’s got to be a rumor.” Vasgersian added, “What would you rename that franchise? The Houston Humidity? ... What would you name it? There’s nowhere else to go.” Verducci: “Something plural would be nice, okay?” (“Hot Stove,” MLB Network, 1/26).