Prince Fielder: To Trade or Not To Trade?

I'm not gonna lie; that looks delicious

I'm not gonna lie; that looks delicious

Before being punished by the Cubs on Monday night, the Brewers had won 8 of their last 10 games and gave the 13 or so fans still paying attention to the team a little more hope for 2010. Of course, winning streaks like that would have been preferred in July and August when the team held the division lead and/or still had a chance to make a playoff run, but I guess we can say better late than never. Even though the last 12 games are very difficult (Cubs, Phillies, Rockies, Cardinals), Milwaukee has a legit shot to finish at .500 or better. Three years ago, I would have been very happy about that, so it must be a good thing that it’s now considered disappointing.

But that isn’t what’s on the mind of Brewers fans today. The beast they call Prince Fielder is finishing off the finest offensive season in Brewers history. Unfortunately, it very well might be his last. The fun part about being useless in September is that writers will talk about shit like this because the games don’t matter. What do I think? I’m glad you asked.

Before I give you the correct answer, we’ll see what my former colleagues have to say. (Ed. note: Keith Law and Buster Only had 0% knowledge that I worked at ESPN. I couldn’t even sniff the bottom of the totem pole at the Worldwide Leader, let alone meet and befriend the better baseball writers at the network. Just so you know.) Anyways, Keith Law says trade him somewhere. Buster Onley says he’ll be in Boston (Moves, Deals & Decisions #3). I like that Onley freely admits that it’s wild speculation, because anybody who acts like they know the answer the question (myself excluded) is a damn liar.

Here’s what we know about Fielder. His contract pays him $7 million this year and $11 million in 2010. That is all. He will be a free agent at the end of that season. He is hitting .297 as of today (Sept. 22) with 40 home runs and 128 RBI. He has drawn 101 walks and scored 94 runs. His on-base percentage is a stellar .410 and he is slugging .589 – which adds up to a .999 OPS (Wow, that masters in math education is paying off already, and I’ve only been in school for two weeks. Fantastic.). Every statistic I’ve mentioned puts Fielder in the top 5 in the National League, except for runs scored, where he ranks a putrid 6th. The RBIs and walks are Brewers’ single-season records. And oh yeah, he’s only 25 years old.

There are some big money teams that have a need at first base (or designated hitter in the AL) that would kill to have Fielder in their lineup. And since murder is illegal, they will likely resort to paying him a shitload of money at the end of 2010 to draw him away from Milwaukee. From everything I’ve heard, the Prince enjoys Milwaukee, loves his teammates, loves the only organization he’s every played for, and doesn’t necessarily want to leave, but that doesn’t mean he will stay. Even for athletes with more money than they know what to do with, a bigger contract offer means you’re wanted more – and that’s the biggest draw. I can’t hate on anyone who wants to get money and get paid.

Now that you know all that, here is my advice to General Manager Doug Melvin, Owner Mark Attanasio and Prince Fielder. DO NOT TRADE THE BIG GUY! DO NOT! You will blow a hole through the skyrocketing fan base, the clubhouse and the chance at a 2010 return to the playoffs. Of course, if the Giants offer Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, then yes, trade him. Immediately. But since that won’t happen, don’t get taken simply because you’re scared to lose him to free agency a full year from now.

Best case scenario: The Crew holds onto Fielder. They pick up some decent to front-line starters this off-season. They tear it up in 2010 and return to the playoffs. Prince doesn’t want to leave just when the team gets great, so he signs a long-term like Ryan Braun and the Crew cockpunches the NL Central for years to come.

Middle ground: The Crew holds onto Fielder. They continue to think Jeff Suppan, Braden Looper and co. are serviceable pitchers. Out of the race by late July, the Brewers trade Fielder at the July deadline for a bunch of prospects and/or good major leaguers. The rebuilding process begins sans Fielder, but with a hope for the near future.

Shitstorm scenario: The Crew holds onto Fielder. They don’t trade him at the deadline. He doesn’t want to stay in Milwaukee. He leaves via free agency and the Crew gets nothing except a few compensatory draft picks and wistful memories. They continue to be a non-factor. Go Packers.

Keep doing your thing, Prince, and keep doing it in Milwaukee. Please.

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8 Comments

Filed under Milwaukee Brewers

8 responses to “Prince Fielder: To Trade or Not To Trade?

  1. Danny,

    Thought I’d drop by and tell you:

    a) I couldn’t tell if you were kidding about the masters in math ed
    b) A trade is a two-way street. Trading Prince after an MVP-caliber season means you’ll net all sorts of awesome in return. Would a package surrounding Cain + Posey for Prince interest you? If you want the Brewers to contend in the Central, it should light your interest on fire.
    c) I’m Keith Law’s intern. Yeah. Deal with it.

    • Danny Mehigan

      Mr. Haberstroh,

      I’d like to respond to your comment by saying:

      a) not kidding. i go to DePaul now. fire up blue demons. gonna be the best HS math teacher you’ve ever seen.
      b) cain + posey would be something the brewers should be very, very interested in. of course, with lucroy and salome in the minors and rising quickly, do you dump them or move posey away from catcher? a good problem to have, but still a problem. i don’t know if there are offers that fantastic out there, but if we pick up the cardinals trash (suppan, looper, i see todd wellemeyer in our rotation next year at this rate…) again, i’ll punch a baby in the face. not really, but you know what i mean.

      c) i live in chicago. thousands of miles away from bristol. deal with it.

      your move, sir.

  2. Petey Mac

    We actually control Fielder for 2 more years after this year. He’s signed through next year, but he has an arbitration year left, and when he goes he could break the record for arbitration salary.

    I don’t think the Crew are a #2 starter away from contention (if they even get one) anyway. His value will never be higher, so I say you package a megadeal to the tune of Fielder/Hardy/McGehee to the Saux for Bucholz, Lars Anderson, Casey Kelly, and Daniel Bard which would give us a young ace, a 1B to replace Prince, a guy who can either play SS or pitch, and a closer who hits triple digits. That or the same package from the Brewers + Salome to the Gigantes for Cain, Bumgarner and Posey, which would be splendid as well.

    Then in circa 2012, we’ll be the shit with Braun, Gallardo, Weeks (extend him now), Esci, Gamel, etc. still here, plus the prospects from either trade. Then add our prospects like Lawrie, Braddock, Scarpetta, Arnett, Cain, LuCroy hitting the majors around that time and you’ve got a WS contender. We won’t need 3 million fans to pay for that young, cheap lineup of studs. Once they’re winning >90 games, the fans will come anyway.

    Just my two cents, Dan.

    • Danny Mehigan

      hey pistol … your two cents is appreciated, and very well put together as well.

      HOWEVA (RIP stephen.a.smith – he’s dead right? or something?), thats assuming the sawx would offer all those guys up – they might not want to give up so much for a glorified DH and 2 infielders when they already have papi’s contract, youkilis, green and whatever that other young shortstop’s name is. and they would also demand a lot of chowdah that we just don’t have in mil-town.

      same thing with the giants – awesome if that deal is out there, but that might be wishful thinking. if that’s the case, i’d be more willing to deal the big guy.

      my biggest problem with the baller lineup and prospects three years from now… we might just be starting another vicious cycle of developing young studs and getting rid of them when they want a contract. look at all the guys the pirates have given away in the last 2 years. (mcclouth, nady, sanchez, laroche, wilson, bay, etc.) yeah they got studs in return, but they still suck as a team. and when mccutchen and company get a few years older, they might bolt town. and pittsburgh will still suck.

      of course, we could be celebrating a title too. which would be cash. developing a boatload of prospects is just such a crapshoot that i’m hesitant to give up a young, proven star. but i see both sides of the coin.

  3. Majerle is God

    Wow. Dan Mehigan. Throwing down a delightful sports blog. Keep up the good work guys, I really enjoy reading this when work is crushing my soul. Go Wisconsin sports teams!

    -fellow WFB alum,
    Brad Carr

    • Danny Mehigan

      your support of the Swing is appreciated, B?!

      also, majerle IS god. +1 to your team. keep on coming back when work gets you down, and go pack. clearly.

  4. Petey Mac

    All true, Dan, but I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable. Look at the Teixeira trade for example, because it’s pretty similar.

    With a >1.5 years left of control (Prince has 2 years left), the Rangers sent Teixeira to the Braves for Neftali Feliz, Jarrod Saltalamaccia, Elvis Andrus, and maybe one other guy.

    The Rangers knew signing Teixeira, a Boras client (like Prince) would cause another A-Rod esque era, with no money to spend, so they traded him. I don’t think that package is much worse if any than the two I suggested, considering A- the prospects are comparable in value, and B- the Brewers package is significantly better. Teixeria’s highest WAR before that trade was 5.4. Prince’s this year is 5.9 and will get up to 6. Plus, you add Hardy, a top defensive SS who would likely dominate at Fenway considering his fly ball and pull rates, and McGehee a rookie of the year candidate who can play multiple positions and has 5 years of control left.

    Sox were rumored to offer Bucholz, Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone for Halladay. That’s atleast as good of a package as the one I proposed. I can’t imagine they’d prefer a year and a half of Hallady over 2 of Prince, 2 of Hardy, and 5 of McGehee. I doubt they’d let Prince walk after 2 years anyway.

    But maybe I got Brewers goggles on, I don’t know.

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