ARLINGTON (AP) – Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan publicly acknowledged Saturday that the AL champions have had talks with free agent slugger Prince Fielder.
Ryan described the discussions as “very preliminary.”
Rangers officials, including Ryan, had an initial session Friday with Fielder and his agent Scott Boras.
“We met (with Fielder and Boras) to try to get a true feel for where they are at this point in time in his free agency to try to see if we thought there might be something there that works for the Texas Rangers,” Ryan said. “It was very preliminary, and it’s very early in any type of negotiation process to even say if there’s anything that’s going to come of that or not.”
Ryan, who didn’t elaborate further, was responding during a question-and-answer session with fans at the team’s annual winter FanFest.
The meeting with Fielder, the 27-year-old first baseman, came at the same time Texas is in the closing stages of their 30-day negotiating window with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.
It was unclear if the Rangers would be willing or able to sign both players to contracts.
The Rangers last month bid a record $51.7 million under the posting system just to win the right to negotiate with the 25-year-old Darvish. Their negotiating period ends Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST. The Rangers pay the posting fee only if they sign the 6-foot-5 pitcher.
Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher, on Saturday reiterated his optimism that the Rangers will get Darvish signed. Ryan has said he was impressed by his first meeting with Darvish, who visited Texas last week before returning home to Japan.
Fielder made $15.55 million last season with Milwaukee, including a $50,000 bonus for starting the All-Star game, after signing a record single-year deal for an arbitration-eligible player last January. He hit .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBIs as the Brewers won the NL Central for their first division title since 1982, when they were still in the AL.
A first-round pick by the Brewers in 2002, Fielder became the youngest player in big league history to hit 50 homers in a season when he did it in 2007, and he’s appeared in all but one of Milwaukee’s games over the last three years.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)