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Report: Dodgers went hard after Prince Fielder

January 26, 2012 | 11:11 am

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Not in the hunt, not going to happen, the payroll limit has been met.

That’s all General Manager Ned Colletti said officially about the possibility of signing free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. All one clever deke?

Now comes a report that the Dodgers did go after Fielder, pretty hard too, and made a very reasonable offer.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said the Dodgers actually were the other mystery team in on Fielder, secretly met with him and offered a seven-year contract with what should have been an attractive four-year opt-out clause.

Heyman said the deal averaged about $26 million the first four years and in the low $20-million range the last three. He estimated the total package to be worth just over $160 million.

The report said the Dodgers were actually one of the final three teams in on Fielder and thought they had a good shot. Who knows, if Victor Martinez doesn’t injure his knee and propel the Tigers hard into the bidding, maybe that press conference in Detroit on Thursday officially announcing his signing to a $214-million, nine-year contract is instead taking place in Los Angeles. At a lesser figure, of course.

The Times’ Dylan Hernandez confirmed that Colletti and assistant Alex Tamin met with Scott Boras in his Newport Beach office to discuss Fielder about a week ago.

The first baseman ended up getting about $50 million more from the Tigers, so that was that. Still, the Dodgers’ offer — paying him serious money through the first four years and allowing him to opt out and possibly sign another huge contract as a designated hitter elsewhere — had to have its appeal.

It was smart offer by the Dodgers. And a tip of the cap to Frank McCourt for approving.

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Bob Daly says selling Dodgers to Frank McCourt was 'horrible mistake'

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, left, stands next to Tigers owner Mike Ilitch during a news conference on Thursday. Credit: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

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