Representatives from the Washington Nationals' ownership met with Scott Boras, the agent for free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, on Monday, reports Bill Ladson of MLB.com. "It is believed the Nationals are in competition with the Mariners and Cubs," Ladson writes. Citing a source, he adds "Nationals ownership will make the final decision on whether the club signs Fielder. It's not known how many years or how much money Washington is willing to give Fielder."
Though Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has indicated the team intends o start Adam LaRoche at first base in 2012, word of ownership's meeting with Boras strongly suggests the team is serious about landing Fielder. The 27-year-old lefty hit .299 with 38 homers and 120 runs batted in during the 2011 season, earning his third All-Star appearance and finishing third in National League MVP voting.
A shoulder injury limited LaRoche to 177 plate appearances, in which he hit .172 with three home runs. In LaRoche's absence, Mike Morse emerged, hitting .303 with 36 doubles and 31 homers in 146 games at first base and left field.
Ladson notes that Washington has a strong relationship with Boras, who also represents Nats stars Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Jayson Werth. But a source told Ladson that Boras could be using Washington "to drive up the price with interested teams."
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