The Texas Rangers' interest in Prince Fielder is high enough that a handful of club officials met with the free-agent slugger in a face-to-face meeting at a Dallas-area hotel on Friday, a source confirmed.
The club is exploring all possibilities to improve and Fielder is likely a backup option should a deal with Yu Darvish fall through, another source said.
The Rangers have until Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT to reach an agreement with Darvish or the 25-year-old pitcher will play in Japan in 2012 and the Rangers won't have to pay the $51.7 million posting bid.
That does not mean the club couldn't afford both Darvish and Fielder, should Fielder's contract be structured a certain way. ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney tweeted earlier Friday that one executive believes that the Rangers, Nationals and Cubs may ultimately get a contract structure of six years with an opt-out after three years at $22 million to $24 million a year. That could make it easier for the Rangers to afford both Fielder and Darvish.
The meeting doesn't necessarily make the Rangers the favorites to land Fielder though, as CBSSports.com reported that he is embarking on a tour of teams.