Since July of the 2010 season, we have all been prepared to say goodbye to Prince Fielder. We knew all to well that his talent was too great for our humble city to keep for itself. It seemed like an almost certainty that he would be traded at the deadline last year, but he never was. Then most of us just presumed the Brewers would trade him to acquire pitching this past off-season, and we were half right. They went and got their pitching and kept Prince in Milwaukee. The 2011 season was going to be our “all or nothing season”, right?
Wrong. The 2012 Brewers are going to be fine, so I never really agreed with that mentality. Sure we don’t have a shortstop or bullpen, but we are certainly going to be in the NL Central race all season. Will the 2012 team win the World Series? Maybe. Also maybe not. A greater concern for me is the 2013 season…
Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum will both be free agents after the 2012 season. After a nice little playoff run, our money might be better spent trying to keep these two guys in town. Neither Greinke or Marcum will break the bank with contract demands. Neither of them currently employ a one Scotty Boras, so that plays heavily in our favor. Greinke is now 3 seasons removed from his Cy Young and Marcum just got blasted in the postseason. Timing is everything people. Pairing these two with Yovani Gallardo for the next few years will keep the Brewers in the playoff contention every year, with or without…you guessed it. Prince Fielder.
We can never replace Prince Fielder. Not his power, his charisma, or his rolley polley-ness. It’s hard for me to say, but I think the team could be better off in the long run by not re-signing Prince. Pitching wins championships. Sure, the Cardinals won the World Series with awful starting pitching, but the bullpen was other-worldly. In 2010 the Giants were nothing but pitching, that offense was much worse than what the Brewers will have on the field over the next few seasons. The point is, hitters come and go but a solid 1-2-3 rotation is something clubs spend decades trying to find. By not signing Prince Fielder, the Brewers can become a pitching team going into middle of of the ….what are we calling these? The Tween years? I heard that somewhere.
The amount of money Prince is asking for is just unreasonable. You do not hire Scott Boras because he seems like a really nice guy. You hire him to get paid. Prince deserves to get paid, he really does. There is no doubt that he has earned the right to seek his fortune. If it is good enough for 1840’s prospectors, then it sure as heck is good enough for Prince Fielder.
Now that Dale Sveum is in Chicago, it is only a matter of time before we are looking at Prince in North Side pinstripes. That money should be used on re-building their pitching staff, but Theo Epstein likes shiny things and who can blame him. But all you have to do is look at someone like Alfonso Soriano to know that the Cubs are willing to spend money foolishly. Prince deserves money. Not just any money, crazy money. No one will be able to compete with the Cubs in a bidding war, plus Epstein probably has a pretty nice relationship with Scott Boras. They’ve worked together on such projects as: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, JD Drew, and Jason Varitek.
The truth is, it was such a nice treat that were able to enjoy him and give him a proper goodbye. Not many fanbases are given such a luxury. We were truly blessed to have him on our team. A lot of people think his body will break down at some point, which is complete bull-doo. Fielder has played almost every single game of his major league career. Maybe he won’t be able to run quite as fast, but I assure you he still has a good 7-8 years of being an every day contributor.
I wish Prince and Dale all of the best, accept for when they play the Crew. What’s awesome is that, they will both understand. Dale Sveum was a great coach who got a raw deal. Ken Macha sucked. It must have been hard to watch Macha ground this team into the dirt, knowing that you could do a better job. Good luck coach. I will miss you and always think on you fondly.
The Brewers will be a better team long-term by letting Fielder walk. There are still enough pieces in place, offensively, for them to score runs. Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Corey Hart are all capable of hitting 30 or more home runs. The team needs to spend that money on Greinke and Marcum. If we know it, I find it hard to believe that Mark Attanasio and Doug Melvin don’t know it too. The Brewers will be better of, without Prince Fielder.