Well it’s no secret that Prince Fielder’s days in Milwaukee may be numbered. What remains a mystery is how many zeroes may be following that number.
Prince Fielder isn’t the only Brewers player who is eligible for arbitration this year. Rickie Weeks is also expected to file after having one of his most productive years to date. Newcomer Shaun Marcum, and relievers Manny Parra and Kameron Lowe round out a hefty list of possible payroll Milwaukee’s Front Office will have to deal with. Carlos Gomez was also able to file, but he waived the process, opting instead to sing for a one year, $1.5 Million deal. That was probably a good move for both parties, especially since after arbitration these players will likely end up with about one fourth of Milwaukee’s payroll. Prince is expected to come out of the process with Milwaukee’s largest contract in franchise history.
So those are the facts. What does all of this mean?
Basically it means that this is the Brew Crew’s last chance to try and keep Prince in town. When arbitration is filed, the player (and said player’s agent) are trying to get paid on the same basic level as players with comparable talents without being able to go through free agency. Often times players and the Front Office can reach an agreement before the end of the filing period, but if not this can often spell disaster for small market teams, who give up huge dollars to keep a star for a very limited time.
If Milwaukee can play shrewdly with Weeks, Parra, and Lowe – none of whom should have had the performance to beat arbitration in my opinion – we should have money enough to make Fielder comfortable, and toss a decent housewarming present to Marcum as well.
The important thing here is to work for the dependable talent. Disregarding Prince’s temper tantrums, his offensive performance has been very reliable – and important for the Brewers’ success. Keeping him in the Brew City and batting behind Ryan Braun should be a top priority.
What Prince wants is still sort of a mystery. This process should give us a lot of insight into how he’s feeling about the team and his place in the Majors.
I can only hope when the dust settles and the checks are signed, Prince’s place is firmly in Miller Park.