What can baseball expect from Prince Fielder between now and 2015?
- .270 to .300 batting average
- 30 to 50 home runs
- 85 to 150 runs batted in
Book it. The next five years, book it. Just pencil it in, put him in the four hole and build around him.
But where to book it is the question. There is no doubt that Prince is one of the kings of slugging in the Major Leagues today. His value is undoubted and he is worth whatever you're willing to pay. He plays in more games than Mark Teixeira and is younger than the "Eight Years, $180 Million Man."
So why wouldn't he expect the same kind of payday? Let's go from the top and list some concerns teams may have.
His weight? This could be a concern for some teams but let's face it: his few extra pounds are just excuses for a team to try to knock down his value. He is not going to eat himself out of the league. (How do you do that anyway eating tofu burgers?) Weight in baseball is largely overrated. It's swinging a bat and playing first base. Not too much real concern here.
His attitude? Almost every major star has an attitude. It's just whether or not they show it. Prince has a very "me against the world" kind of demeanor toward life, and I do not blame him. Seeing how people act toward him in his professional life and some in his personal life -- you can only expect him to be that way. So, this is not a real issue.
His health? 162 games the last three years, with this season going for 161. This is a non-issue.
So what is the real concern? It comes down to money, no matter what you hear and who you hear it from -- it's all about dollars and cents. If you can afford Prince Fielder, you want him. If you find yourself not being able to afford him you trade him for as much pitching and young talent as you can get.
I am not saying the Brewers are cheap if they deal Prince. The Brewers could choose for pitching over power/money, and that's not necessarily wrong. Here are some teams who could show large interest in Fielder.
Baltimore: To compete in the east a big bat sure would help.
Boston: If they were able to trade for and sign Fielder they would put themselves back in the position where they could be in the playoffs year in and year out.
Los Angeles Angels: A team that could use a huge bat in an otherwise decent line-up.
Toronto: All of that young pitching that they have could entice the Brewers into making a deal.
San Francisco: Another team that has a surplus of pitching that the Brewers could be interested in.
New York Mets: They spend money and they need a heavy hitter, this would make sense.
Chicago Cubs: This would be a nightmare scenario for Brewers fans but the Cubs could use a lot of things and Prince would be easy to build around.
The Brewers: The Brew Crew could keep the big bopper and try to continue to lock up players long-term. It is not out of the question.
In the end what do I think it will take to land fielder? Five years and $105-115 million. In this day and age I feel he is worth it (and someone will pay it), It would be a great luxury to fill in the line up card with Hart, Braun and Fielder in the 2,3,4 spots, respectively ... and know you have them locked up for a while.
I would love to see the Crew keep Prince! Long term contracts can be hard to come by, but I hope this is one they can secure!
Would also like to see the video of how to throw a curveball. Sure, I can "google it", but what fun is that when I could have a pro show me!
The Journal Sentinel reported in July that Fielder turned down 5 years for $100+ million from the Brewers, so I'm guessing he's going to hold out for more than 5/115.
He'll probably want a contract exceeding what Teixeira got (8/180). Of course, since he'd end up as a full-time DH for the Yankees (Tex) or Boston (Youk), I'm not sure who's left that would pay that much.
I find it unlikely that the Brewers will get a trade offer they deem worthy this offseason. My guess is that Fielder will be a rental for someone in the stretch run next year, unless the Brewers are in the hunt, in which case they'd probably try to make a run and just take the draft picks. The team has shown they're willing to mortgage the future somewhat when they have a shot at winning (see CC in 2008).
I've said for some time that if the Brewers were willing to offer CC 5 years and 100MM, they should be able to do the same for Prince. I haven't heard anything about Prince's wife other than she was the one that encouraged his veggie diet.
I don't see any reason why $20MM a year is such a stretch for this club. Suppan, Hall, Riske and Hoffman are all off the books for 2011. That's a lot of money freed up and a lot of young talent seemingly ready to take spots on the major league roster. That's a recipe for cheap talent (CF, 3B, SS, C, bullpen) and solid core guys (LF, RF, 2B?).
If they can't get the deal that they want, sign him. Period. And figuring what DM wants to get for Fielder, I'd be on the phone with Boras already.
Seth, you make great points. Why not try to sign him?
One more thing: he seems to genuinely like Milwaukee and from what I have been told is quite the family man and for the most part, a decent guy. On the other hand, I hear his wife is a completely different story - and there lies the rub.
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