Previewing The Market For Prince Fielder

5061012196115_Brewers_at_Angels Earlier today we heard from Scott Boras, who is still trying to find a job for three of his highest profile clients this offseason. His biggest client next offseason, both literally and figuratively, will be Prince Fielder of the Brewers. The first baseman is due to earn upwards of $15MM in 2011, his final trip through the arbitration process, and he'll hit the open market after the season at just 27 years old.

Fielder's credentials are undeniable. He's hit .281/.395/.549 with 162 total home runs over the last four seasons, an average of just over 40 per season. Only Ryan Howard has gone deep more times since 2007, and only a handful of players boast better on-base percentages. Fielder's defense is generally below average and there are legitimate long-term concerns about his size and ability to play the field. His father Cecil Fielder had a similar build and had gone from being one of the game's best sluggers to merely above average by age 30. 

Boras will have his work cut out for him, because three of baseball's biggest spenders (Yankees, Tigers, Phillies) already have first basemen locked up to nine-figure contracts. The Cardinals and Red Sox figure to join that group once extensions for Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez are in place, respectively. Other clubs like the Reds, White Sox, Twins, and Nationals don't have a desperate need for a first baseman. Here are some of the clubs that could have interest in Fielder next offseason…

  • Angels – Shut out of all the top free agents this winter, the Halos could be an aggressive player for Prince. They already have Kendry Morales at first however, meaning that they'd be locking one of the two into the DH spot for the foreseeable future. Their relationship with Boras isn't great either.
  • Blue Jays – If Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Lind can't handle first in 2010, Toronto could try to make a big play for Fielder. It would go against everything Alex Anthopoulos has done to date though. They might also be preoccupied with trying to re-signing Jose Bautista by then as well. 
  • Cubs – The Cubbies added Carlos Pena on a one-year deal, so the position will be open next winter. Kosuke Fukudome's $14.5MM salary will be off the books as well, so the money seems to be there. We know they've been looking for lefty power for quite some time.
  • Dodgers – Ned Colletti is somewhat limited by the team's ownership situation right now, but things could change in the next 12 months. Perhaps a new owner would like to make a big splash.
  • GiantsAubrey Huff just re-signed for two years but he can play other positions if needed, though if he does, it might be in deference of top prospect Brandon Belt. San Francisco will have to start thinking about a long-term extension for Tim Lincecum soon enough, and that is likely to eclipse $100MM.
  • Mets – Sandy Alderson has limited his free agent spending this winter, but he'll have Carlos Beltran ($20.07MM), Oliver Perez ($12MM), and Luis Castillo ($6.25MM) coming off the payroll after next season. Some of that money might go to an extension for Jose Reyes, but signing Fielder could free them up to trade Ike Davis for help elsewhere.
  • Orioles – The O's made a run at Mark Teixeira two winters ago, so we know they have the ability to support a $20MM a year player. Derrek Lee is on a one-year deal, and Andy MacPhail could choose to add that big power bat just as his young players start to mature.
  • Rangers – Texas has still has some Cliff Lee money to spend, but this would still be a long shot. They have several players due sizable arbitration raises in the next two years (most notably Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz), and would probably need to unload Michael Young as well. 

We shouldn't rule the Brewers out either, no matter how unlikely it seems. They made a representative offer to CC Sabathia after the 2008 season, so we know they have that kind of money available. Of course that was before they added Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, and before signing both Corey Hart and Yovani Gallardo long-term. The market for Fielder still has another 11 months to develop, and plenty will change between now and then. At this moment though, there's no clear-cut suitor.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


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108 Comments on "Previewing The Market For Prince Fielder"


JohnKruksWaistline
4 years 6 months ago

Literally and figuratively. Nice.

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

The Brewers could keep him around if they can draw a good crowd every night. I don’t see what the issue is now with the pitching they’ve added. Going to be a fun Brewer team to watch. Young and full of talent.

MetsFanXXIII
4 years 6 months ago

Woah, I do not want to break the bank for Prince Fielder if Ike has a good year. Larger players tend not to age as well. My Mo Vaughn sense is tingling.

Sixto_Lezcano
4 years 6 months ago

You say Mo Vaughn, I say Ryan Howard. There’s no actual evidence that Fielder will decline over the life of a 5-6 year contract (he would still be in his early thirties).

PennMariner
4 years 6 months ago

Well, Ryan Howard is already declining, so that’s that.

Sixto_Lezcano
4 years 6 months ago

I agree, but some people act like Fielder is going to fall off a cliff at age 29 or something.

alxn
4 years 6 months ago

probably not but he is likely going to be looking for a really long contract and teams are going to want to be sure that he wont break down completely by the end of it

inkstainedscribe
4 years 6 months ago

Well, as the post noted, his dad sure fell off a cliff not long after age 29.

oleosmirf
4 years 6 months ago

timber!!!

4 years 6 months ago

How so? He is in the best shape of his life. He suffered an ankle injury last season which put a dent in his performance in the second half. Care to tell me your favorite team?

4 years 6 months ago

He’s fat and has a bad attitude. Other than that, I’ll buy that he’s in the “best” shape of his life. It just happens that his shape is still round.

PennMariner
4 years 6 months ago

Do you seriously not understand the potential cons of the M’s signing Fielder? First and foremost, Boras will be looking for something in the 6 year, 120-140 million range. That basically leaves the M’s little wiggle room to make other upgrades, and all of it for an overweight designated hitter. That, Patricio, is why I’m torn. Don’t question my fanhood just because I take time to think things through.

MetsFanXXIII
4 years 6 months ago

His defense won’t get any better, Ike plays GG caliber at the position, and if he continues to develop well as a hitter, I wouldn’t try to throw that away by signing a guy who likely would be better suited as a DH soon enough. You say 5-6 years, I say there’s no way he gets that few with so many potential suitors.

4 years 6 months ago

Agreed, Fielder is built just like his Dad almost bigger with a less stupid looking face. And he’s playing everyday right now legs and knees supporting that much weight are better suited for the AL.

jphenix2002
4 years 6 months ago

Mike Axisa says it’s in his family lineage and I say don’t knock the impact of genetics. Whether its for baseball or just general health Fielder needs to take better care of his body.

4 years 6 months ago

Here’s Fielder in Japan this offseason. Looks like he’s taking care of it just fine.

4 years 6 months ago

wow, he’s dropped a ton of weight.

Bob George
4 years 6 months ago

Hopefully Jim Hendry is fired by then so the Cubs aren’t dumb enough to make a 7-8 year offer to Fielder.

Sixto_Lezcano
4 years 6 months ago

Cecil Fielder did not have a similar build. Why do people keep saying that?

mwagner26
4 years 6 months ago

Haters gonna hate.

4 years 6 months ago

Uh yes they do, only difference is Cecil fielder didn’t look as fat as Prince did when he was still in his mid-twenties.

Sixto_Lezcano
4 years 6 months ago

Uh yeah, because they have different body types… Cecil was four inches taller and 40 lbs. lighter when he played.

4 years 6 months ago

You obviously take merit in what the teams say the player’s weights are. You shouldn’t.

MaineSox
4 years 6 months ago

According to official heights and weights John Lester is the same height and 10 pounds heavier than Ortiz. Right.

Bob George
4 years 6 months ago

Fat takes up more space than muscle. Ortiz isn’t in as good a condition as Lester. They can both be the same height and almost the same weight and have completely different body shapes.

Bob George
4 years 6 months ago

And Cecil’s weight caused him to break down at a relatively young age. Prince is even heavier, on a smaller build. That spells even more trouble.

Anyone who signs him to a 5+ year contract is going to regret the last couple of years, especially if it’s an NL team.

CitizenSnips
4 years 6 months ago

I’d rather the Mets keep Ike. His glove has me convinced for at least another year.

scluse
4 years 6 months ago

His glove was extremely underrated last year and if they decide to put Murphy at 2nd then it would be a MUST to keep Ike. Don’t even get me started on how many throwing errors he’s saved David Wright because of his little lollipop sidearm throws.

Just_MLB
4 years 6 months ago

his bat is only going to get better. He missed about 6 weeks of the season and still hit 19 HR’s. the best part is that when he hits a HR, its usually well over 400 FT. 8 of his 19 HR’s were over 430 FT. 15 of his 19 HR’s were over 400 Ft.

something tells me this kid is going to be special.

Just_MLB
4 years 6 months ago

to put it in perspective. if Ike played in Yankee Stadium, he would have had 12 extra HR’s. Upping his total from 19 to 31 HR’s.

4 years 6 months ago

“It would go against everything Alex Anthopoulos has done to date though.”

Actually, everything AA has done to date so far is to set up the Blue Jays for a Prince Fielder-ish acquisition. If the Blue Jays can repeat on their 2010 performance and hover in the mid 80s in Ws it’s not unlikely they make a big push for Fielder. They have only 35m committed for 2012 so far and claim they are willing to go to a 120m payroll when the time is right.

4 years 6 months ago

I’d rather a first baseman than a DH.

4 years 6 months ago

Why would you care if Lind or Encarnacion shows themselves to be competent/good at the position?

4 years 6 months ago

Hmmmmm, could it have something to do with spending over 100+ million over the length of a 6-8 year contract for a DH is unappealing for most teams?

mp87
4 years 6 months ago

hes still capable at first and if the second half of the contract hes not working out there he gets shifted…and jerry is right though, alex has said multiple times when the team is close, they will spend…and rogers corporation claims to have the money if he asks for it. the thing alex seems to want to do when he signs a big time contract is to NOT sign a 30 year old becoming a free agent for the first time…he’s looking saving for the kids that reached free agency faster and thats how you keep the team younger. but it doesnt matter if he never reaches free agency…but he will because scott boras is his agent and he wont be allowed to resign prior unless its for a player friendly number.

4 years 6 months ago

because in all likelihood, two guys who are not very good defensively, and have never played first base before (save for Lind’s 17 innings or whatever it was last year) won’t show themselves to be good/competent. Prince is not going to age well in terms of defense, simply because he’s huge and only sort of mobile now. I mean, yeah, if Lind/Edwin works out then great, let’s have it; I just don’t see either being overly useful at 1b.

4 years 6 months ago

because in all likelihood, two guys who are not very good defensively, and have never played first base before (save for Lind’s 17 innings or whatever it was last year) won’t show themselves to be good/competent. Prince is not going to age well in terms of defense, simply because he’s huge and only sort of mobile now. I mean, yeah, if Lind/Edwin works out then great, let’s have it; I just don’t see either being overly useful at 1b.

start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

I gotta think the Cubs are going to go all in. Right now I still don’t think they can compete in the weak NL Central, but I think with the Garza trade they’re definitely trying to get into position within the next few years.

4 years 6 months ago

If I were a Brewer fan I’d be kind of upset about this post, since I’m not a Brewer fan; great great post!!

Pete
4 years 6 months ago

Travis Hafner 2.0

Sixto_Lezcano
4 years 6 months ago

Uh…?

tiger313
4 years 6 months ago

If he were smart he would sign in the AL just incase he gets too big and slow to play first he can still DH.

4 years 6 months ago

With the money he’s seeking it doesn’t matter where he’s going — he’ll sign for the biggest amount of money possible.

Fielder has been bellyaching about money in Milwaukee for years. It started when his dad gambled away his signing bonus and has only gotten worse since.

Fielder and Boras are match made in … wherever Boras is from. It’s all about the money.

glenstein
4 years 6 months ago

What about the Washington Nationals? Yes, I know they have Laroche, but I don’t think having Laroche is a good enough reason to not get Fielder, especially given how desperate the Nats are for any sort of talent whatsoever.

CommissionerBart
4 years 6 months ago

Rizzo claims to be driven by defense. Fielder’s below average now and likely to decline further.

He needs to go to the AL where when he can’t be tolearated at first any more he can shift to DH.

I don’t understand why this guy doesn’t get in shape. I think it also reveals something about his attitude toward giving whatever it takes to be the best player he can be.

Redbirds16
4 years 6 months ago

Prince is a vegetarian (vegan too maybe?)… Just accept the fact that the guy is big and will be big for his entire MLB career. I’d say he’s best fit for the AL, but just like Dunn will insist he’s a 1B so he doesn’t get stuck not getting paid like Thome or Vlad.

proof2006
4 years 6 months ago

Theres plenty of unhealthy food that isn’t meat. Vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy.

Redbirds16
4 years 6 months ago

Er. Yea. I guess it all depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.

Generally speaking, there are less calories in a vegetarian diet. Generally speaking, less calories in a diet translates to less weight stored in the body in the form of fat. Generally speaking, a reduction of calories combined with physical exercise will not lead to weight gain. Generally speaking, multimillion dollar athletes who put so much attention into what they eat so as to go so far as to declare themselves vegetarian can be trusted to do well by their bodies.

Cuz I know if I were a vegetarian multimillionaire whose income depended on the physical performance of my body, with a whole host of physical trainers and dietitians at my disposal, I would go out and find the most unhealthy non-meat products I could find.

I think it’s safe to say Prince does right by his body given his genetic makeup.

4 years 6 months ago

I don’t see why Boston isn’t a possibility. They don’t really have many DH options after Ortiz. NY has Posada / Jeter / Rodriguez to get at-bats from the DH spot so maybe they’re out. Do we think Fielder would earn less if he was “marketed” by Boras as a DH option for teams already content at first base, like Boston or LAA?

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

Boston isn’t a possibility because if they lock up AGon that’s two players with 20M a year contracts AND they still have to lock up Buchholz. Youkilis will be without a contract in a couple years. Ellsbury begins arbitration soon, Bard will eventually. And to finish off why not… it doesn’t make sense to lock 20M into the DH spot, ever. The money will be there to do it, but it really is a waste. Resign Papi or find other alternatives.

4 years 6 months ago

Alright so it makes so much sense to lock 20M into a 1B who should be a DH? Same production but if he’s a DH then he’s not hurting the team on defense, which I think would make sense to a team like Boston who yeah admittedly has its own players to worry about in the near future but a couple of big contracts ending during what would likely be in the middle of Fielder’s deal. I guess I just have a hard time seeing Fielder making sense on a 6 or 7 year deal in the NL unless he doesn’t actually decline on defense. And for any AL team it seems like after the first couple of years he’d end up DHing. Playing first base makes him more versatile but how much more valuable does it make him if it’s not done well? I admit I haven’t had a close look at his fielding stats so anyone feel free to demonstrate that he can handle 1B just fine…

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

I get what you’re saying. IMO, I don’t think he fits but you never know. A lot of crazy things can happen.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 6 months ago

Fielder would be scary in either Fenway or Yankee Stadium. In Yankee Stadium and the appealing short left porch in the spring/summer. In Fenway you’re talking 40 hrs and 50 dbls easy.

Don’t see either happening though.

Just_MLB
4 years 6 months ago

Fielder at Yankee Stadium would average 50 HR a year. Easily.

MaineSox
4 years 6 months ago

Boston could, theoretically, be a possibility because of the fact that they would have the DH spot open. But I don’t think they would even consider it for that kind of money, so unless his market completely falls apart and they can get him for DH money (even Ortiz-esue DH money) they wont do it. You have to also wonder if Fielder would consider a full time DH roll when he could still play in the field (I didn’t say play well).

They also have Anderson who, if he shows the continued ability to hit, could slide into the DH spot in ’12 and Lavarnway who could also be a potential DH if his defense at catcher doesn’t continue improving to the point that he can stick at catcher.

4 years 6 months ago

My Spidey Sense has always towards Prince going to Boston.

East Coast Bias
4 years 6 months ago

I’m putting my (Monopoly) money on the Cubs.

4 years 6 months ago

Is Bryce Harper a potential first baseman or is he projected to be more likely to play elsewhere?

4 years 6 months ago

meant to be in reply to glenstein…

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

Harper was drafted as an outfielder.

deere5800
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, wasn’t he throwing like 95 from the catcher’s position? I wouldn’t put that arm at first

4 years 6 months ago

They drafted his bat. LF (if he can cut it) or 1B (if his bat is ready and he’s rushed) are my bets.

ze3
4 years 6 months ago

Now if only we could get rid of Reagins before next year’s offseason begins…

bjsguess
4 years 6 months ago

I take it you want the Angels to go after Fielder?

That would be sweet. We could have a 1st baseman in Morales who would be in line for a $18-20m/year paycheck (assuming he has a monster year in 2011) and then another $20m+ tied up in the DH spot. That would be terrific.

okbluejays
4 years 6 months ago

Cubs, O’s and Mets seem like most likely suitors. Probably in that order too.

Just_MLB
4 years 6 months ago

the cardinals are more likely to make a run at fielder to replace pujols than the mets would be to replace ike.

they have ike davis, who is 24, has 2 more pre-arb years..then 3 more years of arb…

what fielder is asking for per year, the mets can pay ike for about 5 more years.

besides, u know they are already pressing up those I Like Ike shirts, the wilpons dont believe in getting rid of anything ( see perez/castillo contracts for proof of concept )

prophetjohn
4 years 6 months ago

only took two sentences to get the fat joke in, lol

Shane McMahon
4 years 6 months ago

Welcome to Camden Yards.

PennMariner
4 years 6 months ago

I’m torn on whether or not I want the Mariners to make a serious push for him, but it would at least make a lot of sense to mention them in this article (no DH under contract after this year, the consistent need for a big bat, lots and lots of money coming off the books, etc.)

studio179
4 years 6 months ago

The Cubs have Fukudome, Silva, Ramirez, Grabow and Pena coming off the books after this year. Boras is Fielder’s agent and Hendry has money to spend…

Help.