By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Dec 11, 2005 at 5:30 AM

You asked for it, and you got it. The Prince has arrived.

The trade of Lyle Overbay to the Toronto Blue Jays during last week's winter meetings clears the way for Prince Fielder to shed his prospect status and become the everyday, starting first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Before the entire community starts overreacting, let's get a couple of things straight about Fielder and what's on tap for 2006.

  • While it is entirely possible, it is ludicrous to expect Fielder to hit 45 home runs this year. Sure, the kid is huge. In limited action last season, he hit 10 homers, with a couple of tape-measure jobs. But let's not lose track of the fact that this kid -- he's only 21 -- have to make quite an adjustment from AAA fastballs to major league heat. Offensively, he's ready. But don't expect a four-homer-explosion when the Brewers open the season April 3.

  • Don't bank on Chris Capuano to win 18 games in 2006. The young righthander had a breakthrough year in 2005, notching a career best in wins, losses (12), starts (35), innings pitched (219), and strikeouts (176). At 27, there is little doubt that this guy is just hitting his prime, but to expect him to perform as he did a year ago may be pushing the envelope. If he can keep his Earned Run Average under last year's 3.99, 15 wins shouldn't be out of the question.

  • It's time for Ben Sheets to lay his cards on the table. We've seen the stuff; we've seen his flashes of brilliance. And while the inner-ear-infection is a fluky type of thing, Sheets desperately needs a full, healthy, solid season to finally get over the 12-win-schneid, and show that he really is the top of the line ace fans in Milwaukee think he is. Brewers fans are praying that the torn back muscle that benched the righthander for the last month of the season is completely healed, but if injuries pop up again this year, General Manger Doug Melvin will have to seriously consider breaking the bank to bring in a bona fide no. 1 starter for 2007.

  • It's not Carlos Lee's job to carry the offense. How a guy can put up numbers like Lee did during the first half of last season is amazing, considering he was pretty much the only guy that had the ability to strike a thrown ball with a wooden bat. Much like he took some time to get adjusted to National League pitching, those opposing pitchers finally caught up to him after the All Star Break. Luckily Geoff Jenkins finally came around to take some pressure off the slugger. Lee's numbers will be much more impressive -- as well as meaningful -- if the rest of the lineup does its job.

  • Bill Hall, like it or not, will be the Opening Day third baseman. Manager Ned Yost has said that Bill Hall would have to work his way into a starting role. Hall has done that, and as it stands, he's penciled in as the starting third baseman. Fans are clamoring, saying he's not ready to play everyday, but for the most part, Hall has been doing that. But now, instead of switching positions during every spring workout, he'll actually get to spend time getting accustomed to the hot corner. There will be some growing pains, but that comes with the territory. And all those people saying the team should go out and sign a power-hitting free agent; here are two things to keep in mind. The short list of available third basemen includes the names Wes Helms, Jose Valentin, and Jose Hernandez. Not to mention that 2005 first round draft pick Ryan Braun is learning the ropes in the farm system.

  • The Brewers baseball operations team is not made up of idiots. Melvin and Yost know what they're doing. On the surface, Dave Bush looks like a pitcher who couldn't keep the ball in the yard, losing 11 games for the Blue Jays. But consider that Melvin picked up a few other guys that struggled mightily before coming to Milwaukee. Doug Davis, Matt Wise and Derrick Turnbow turned out to be pretty decent, wouldn't you think? Even Victor Santos turned in a couple of good outings before melting down.

The moral here, Brewers fans, is to be patient. Certainly, expectations have gone up -- and rightfully so. For all their shortcomings in 2005, this team very easily could have been a post-season participant. But throwing Fielder in the mix just adds to a young roster that may still be trying to figure itself out.

Only time will tell.