Ryan: Texas talks with Fielder ‘very preliminary’

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.