Saturday afternoon in Lakeland, Prince Fielder blasted balls out of Joker Marchant Stadium during batting practice, loped around the outfield with his bushy-haired son and joked with teammates. Fielder and the Detroit Tigers may still be in the feeling-out process of their long-term commitment, but in their first spring training, they could not be happier together. "Everything," Fielder said, "worked out for the best."

It also could have worked out differently, though, with Fielder swinging his powerful, left-handed bat for the visiting Washington Nationals. Before he signed his nine-year, $214 million contract with Detroit, he and the Nationals shared a courtship that included a meeting in Washington and several other conversations between Nationals ownership and Fielder's agent, Scott Boras. From the start of his process, Fielder could see himself playing in Washington.

"Definitely," Fielder said Saturday. "The guys they have in there — Bryce [Harper], [Stephen] Strasburg, [Jayson] Werth. They have a lot of guys over there. They especially have a lot of young talent. Those guys, I definitely wouldn't have minded playing for them. But I'm with the Tigers."