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Harper, of course, is a fellow client of Scott Boras, as are seven other players on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, and Fielder said he heard through Boras often that the Nationals’ players were pulling for him to land with them. The tantalizing power he brings from the left side of the plate was simply too much for them not to want in their uniform. One player, though a non-Boras client, described it as “heartbreaking,” the day Fielder signed with the Tigers.

Fielder appears at peace in a Tigers‘ uniform. He got the mega-contract he and Boras set out for at the start of the offseason. While his feelings on the Nationals’ chances for contending may remain, he’ll watch from afar. He’ll stay in Detroit, helping to form one of the most intimidating lineups in the major leagues.

The Nationals’ and Fielder’s mutual affection was there, it just wasn’t enough.

“You usually end up loving the team that loves you,” Fielder said.