The Brewers have Prince Fielder under contract through next season, but they are already being berated with questions concerning an extension. It is only a matter of time now before trade speculation comes knocking on the Miller Park.
Fielder is off to a solid start this season, compiling a .400 average in 5 at-bats. (Okay, kind of kidding about his strong start...)
Fielder has averaged a little over 39 home runs in his four seasons as an everyday starter, and he owns a .284 career average. While Fielder is a great player with tremendous power, he is not the kind of player who necessarily ages well.
Here is Keith Law's take on it:
The other reason, thinking down the road, is he's the type of player who doesn't age well -- patient with power but un-athletic with no defensive value to speak of."
The Brewers are not garnering serious playoff consideration for the next couple seasons, but moving Fielder for a boat load of prospects could pay dividends down the line. Not only does it save them money, but it replenishes a farm system hit by trades (Matt LaPorta), guys getting called up (Alcides Escobar), and injury (Mat Gamel).
Who would enter the mix for a player like Prince Fielder?
While the Orioles may not be willing to part with a top prospect or two for Fielder, the time has come for the Orioles to be more aggressive and make things happen. The fact they still have Brian Roberts after four years of trade speculation (mostly with the Cubs) is a testament to owner Peter Angelos' inability to build a solid team under their financial circumstances.
The Marlins nearly made a move for Manny Ramirez in 2008 before he was traded to the Dodgers, meaning they could still be in the mix for a big name player at some point this season. Also, owner Jeff Loria believes the Marlins can make the playoffs, which has lead to some speculation that Fredi Gonzalez is on the hot seat.
While the Marlins have Gaby Sanchez, who hit .303 in 33-at bats this spring, waiting in the wings, adding Fielder would generate some buzz in Miami and give them another bat who can hit for power and average.
If Chris Coghlan and Cameron Maybin can play to their potential, the Marlins would have a solid offense which would allow them to focus on building up their starting rotation. For the Marlins, it may be a stretch, but right now they are facing steep competition from the Mets, Braves, and Phillies.
Who else could enter the mix for Prince Fielder?