A person familiar with the talks between the Brewers and Prince Fielder suggests that the eight year, $180MM+ contracts signed by Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira are viewed as just a starting point by the first baseman's people, says SI.com's Jon Heyman. Another suggested that Fielder is seeking to join Alex Rodriguez in the $200MM club.
Owner Mark Attanasio remains hopefully that they'll be able to keep their star first baseman, but he and Scott Boras "appear to have taken a vow of silence regarding the most important player negotiations in the Brewers' history." One player told Heyman that he thinks the team's chances of retaining Fielder are "very slim," and a team official conceded that even though he enjoys Milwaukee, the team doesn't sense that he'll take a discount to remain there."When you evaluate players at the major league level, those who have done certain things by age 25 are extraordinary, and two of those things are 40 home runs and 125 RBIs. You certainly can count the number of players who have done that,'' said Boras. "Extraordinary performance at a young age gives you totally different career indices."
There's no denying that Fielder has been immensely productive in his young career, but such production at first base isn't the same as getting from a catcher or shortstop/third baseman. Teixeira, another Boras client and first baseman, is viewed as a better bet to remain productive into his 30's because there are no concerns about his size going forward.
Fielder, 26 in May, has hit .288/.393/.575 over the last three seasons, averaging 43 homers per year. He'll make $10.5MM this season, and will be eligible for arbitration in 2011 before becoming a free agent after that season. Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, and Adrian Gonzalez can all potentially be part of the same free agent class, so if a team doesn't want to meet Fielder's demands, they'll have plenty of alternatives.