TUESDAY: ESPN's Buster Olney spoke to multiple GMs who are scared of Fielder's body type. Throw in the potential for Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols to join him on the free agent market, and Fielder may struggle to approach Teixeira's deal. Olney says Scott Boras "made it clear [to the Brewers] that he expects to get more for Fielder than the seven years and $169 million owed to Ryan Howard at the outset of this season."
MONDAY: Just in case any doubt remained, agent Scott Boras made it clear that Prince Fielder won’t be giving the Brewers a hometown discount. Boras told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Prince is a “rare, rare commodity” and suggested that the first baseman could be headed for a Hall of Fame career. Most ominous of all for Brewers fans was the player to whom Boras compared Fielder.
One glance at Teixeira’s eight-year $180MM suggests that Fielder won’t come cheap when he hits free agency after the 2011 season. Haudricourt hears from rival agents that the Brewers offered a five-year deal worth just over $100MM. That’s a substantial offer for the mid-market Brewers, but Boras suggests $180MM isn’t as expensive as it sounds.
“If you look at Mark Teixeira’s contract, he made the Yankees money,” Boras said. “How many teams would take on Mark Teixeira’s contract? I would say 20. The reason is it’s good business to do that. Those players are invaluable.”
Fielder, 26, has 20 homers and a league-leading 61 walks. He has posted a .265/.401/.494 line this year, just short of his career .927 OPS. There’s no question that Fielder will command a substantial contract, and Boras suggests he could surpass Teixeira's deal.
“Prince is a home-run hitter,” Boras said. “He’s 70 home runs ahead of Teixeira at that point [of his career]. Prince has much more power. This is how you [measure] performance and age and production. You have to ask in the marketplace how many players can do this?”
As Boras knows, there aren’t many players who can match Prince’s production. That means other clubs will have interest in Fielder and at this point, the Brewers are reportedly willing to listen to offers as they mull the pros and cons of an expensive extension.