The more I watch Prince Fielder, the more I salivate over his home run potential at Yankee Stadium. Fielder, 27, is second in the National League with 21 home runs and is set to become a free agent in the off-season. Fielder has already clubbed 213 home runs and has averaged a home run once every 15.2 at-bats. Fielder is rated as a below average defender, making a transition to the American League to DH almost inevitable. Would the Yankees consider shelling out $20+ million per season to bring in one of the premiere left-handed power hitters in the game? Would Fielder become the Yankees present-day answer to David Ortiz?

A Swing Made For Yankee Stadium

To put a Prince Fielder signing in perspective, let’s just imagine the Yankee lineup with him in it…

1. Derek Jeter
2. Curtis Granderson
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, DH
5. Alex Rodriguez
6. Robinson Cano
7. Russell Martin**
8. Nick Swisher
9. Brett Gardner

There’s no doubt that this would be the most fearsome lineup in baseball. This lineup would be absolutely stacked with high-percentage on-base hitters and a literal nightmare for any right-handed starter. Sliding Robinson Cano to sixth in the order seems almost silly when Cano is considered one of the best hitters in the game.

Do the Yankees have the money?

Silly question, right? Of course the Yankees have the money. Jorge Posada and his $13.1 million will be coming off the books. The Yankees have a plethora of one-year deals also sliding off the books. With the contracts of Nick Swisher ($11 million) coming off the books after 2012, the Yankees could play Adam Poe in right field. A backloaded offer to Fielder would make sense.

The Yankees do have deal with a plethora of arbitration cases (David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan to name a few) and CC Sabathia may decide to opt out of his contract. Should he opt out, locking up CC is the top priority this off-season, but adding Fielder would create an absolute nightmare for other pitchers. The Yankees always operate for the moment (ahem, Rafael Soriano), so this idea is not far fetched.

What about pitching?

Ah, yes. Pitching. If we look at the crop of impending free agents, CJ Wilson of the Rangers tops the class. Jered Weaver and Matt Cain are a year away from free agency, but the Yankees do have some prospects who should be ready to go by 2013 at the latest. The game’s top pitchers (Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, etc) are years away from free agency. Adding Fielder to the lineup may make adding another top starter right now an after thought.

Clogging Up The DH slot?

First things first. Derek Jeter is not a designated hitter, so let’s just forget that notion. It’s either shortstop or bench. He’s not going to the outfielder, either. If the Yankees do lock up Fielder, they must bank on A-Rod playing third base for the duration of his contract (2017). Is this a feasible notion? Probably not, but this team operates on a year-to-year basis. Cashman and Co. realize that A-Rod’s contract will burden the team in its final few years, but a few more championships now will make that an afterthought.

Other Potential Shortcomings

Think World Series. When playing in National League parks, Fielder would be nothing more than a $20 million pinch hitting option off the bench. It’s a good problem to have, but Fielder’s upside would be capped in the Fall Classic. Of course the team needs to get there first, but it’s a problem that the Red Sox have dealt with, with Big Papi.

Another long-term contract? The Yankees are committed to Teixeira and Sabathia through 2016. Rodriguez through 2017. Fielder would command at least a six-year deal, potentially seven at an annual rate of roughly $20-$22 million per season. That’s a lot of risk, locking four players up to $100 million in payroll. If any team can take that on though, the Yankees can.

Potential Suitors

The Brewers will likely make a run to keep Fielder, but may lack the money to keep him around. They have already locked up Ryan Braun through 2020 and have money committed to Yovani Gollardo. If Albert Pujols somehow leaves the Cardinals for the Cubs, Fielder becomes an option. Expect the Cubs to be in on both Fielder and Pujols. Outside of these three NL Central clubs, I cannot think of a match for Fielder. The Red Sox and Phillies will not be in involved. The Mets and Angels cannot afford him. If a bidding war started between a NL Central club and the Yankees, my money is on the Bombers. Fielder has already stated that he’s hungry for a World Series title. What better place than New York?

Conclusion

I’m all for the Yankees going after Prince this off-season. They would adding another big-time power bat to the lineup who has a tailor made swing for Yankee Stadium. If Curtis Granderson has seen his home run total surge in the Bronx, just imagine Fielder. 40 home runs seems like the floor. The Yankees will add on another long-term contract, but this team wants to win now when its core players are in the prime of their careers. Giving Jeter and Mo another title or two would just seem fitting. The starting pitching market is not desirable and the Yankees have in-house options that have potential to get it done.

Prince Fielder in the Bronx? Sign me up.

Just look at Fielder’s home run spray chart this season. The dude has 500 foot home run potential.