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Nightengale: Rangers believe they are out on Fielder

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Bob Nightengale has a story at the USA Today website, in which he indicates that the Rangers think they are out on the bidding for free agent first baseman Prince Fielder:

The Texas Rangers believe they are out out of the bidding for free-agent slugger Prince Fielder, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, but not authorized to speak publicly because of the ongoing negotiations.

The Washington Nationals are apparently still seen as the favorites for Fielder, but Nightengale says that the Mariners, Orioles, and Marlins have all been linked to Fielder lately, as well.

Prince Fielder to the Rangers has been a popular assumption for much of the offseason, given that the Rangers' first base situation is somewhat unsettled right now (and is not an area of depth in the minors), Fielder's lefty power stroke is seen as a great fit for TBIA, and the Rangers have new ownership that is ramping up the payroll.

Nevertheless, there clearly hasn't been a comfort level in Texas with giving Fielder a deal in the eight-to-ten year range, as he's supposedly seeking. The public statements from the front office have indicated that Fielder and the Rangers would have to be "creative" in making a deal work, given the 2012 payroll is already looking to be at around $125 million, and given the team's reluctance to commit to a decade-long deal.

UPDATE -- Jon Heyman just tweeted that, of the "final" teams still in on Fielder, the Rangers are the "longest shot."