Earlier this month we learned that the Brewers are listening to offers for first baseman Prince Fielder. One school of thought is that Fielder's value is at its highest since, as one GM told ESPN's Buster Olney, "he can impact two pennant races." Another is that Brewers GM Doug Melvin can get more teams involved in the offseason and drive up the price. At any rate, let's summarize the current Fielder situation.
Fielder, a Scott Boras client, signed a two-year, $18MM extension in January of 2009. $4.34MM remains on that contract through the end of the season, and then Fielder will be arbitration-eligible for 2011. One exec I spoke to feels the slugger could earn around $15-16MM in '11 before reaching free agency and seeking $100MM+ on a multiyear deal.
Fielder's power is down overall this year, as he's hitting .265/.396/.509 and striking out more than ever. However, he's slugging .618 since June 1st – more in line with his '09 performance. And even though doubles and triples are down, Fielder leads the NL with 23 home runs.
In today's blog Olney writes that "the Brewers' clear preference will be for young power pitching." The deal would have to be built around a household name – a hurler found on Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospects list or a flamethrower who was recently promoted. I'm guessing the Brewers would want a top 100 prospect as well, and those two players would form the foundation of the deal.
- White Sox: GM Kenny Williams says "only a small group of players" can help him, and many baseball writers feel that Fielder is probably on Williams' list. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes that the Brewers scouted Daniel Hudson last night. Is Hudson the type of player you can build a Fielder deal around? It may be a moot point, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Sox are "not on Fielder."
- Rays: They certainly have the goods, with pitchers such as Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis. However, a source of Yahoo's Jeff Passan says the Rays "won't go near" Fielder, perhaps because of his likely 2011 salary.
- Giants: With Madison Bumgarner or Jonathan Sanchez, Passan feels the Giants could swing a Fielder deal. They've also got Zach Wheeler, who is further away but rates very highly. On the other hand, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted on July 3rd that there had been no recent trade talks between the teams. That same day Olney opined that he didn't think the Giants could acquire Fielder without Matt Cain.
- Angels: It's believed they prefer a rental at first base, since Kendry Morales will be ready for the '11 season. For what it's worth, Torii Hunter would like to see the Angels acquire Fielder or Adam Dunn.
- You could dream up various other scenarios, though we haven't seen anything about the Mets, Dodgers, or Rangers being interested in Fielder. Things could open up in the winter, as a surprise team could splurge for a year of Fielder in the way that the Athletics acquired Matt Holliday.