Quote of the day: "It's my decision"

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Thumbnail image for fielder_prince_090928.jpgAdam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers are already engaging agent Scott Boras in some preliminary discussions about a long-term contract for Prince Fielder.

Fielder, who turns 26 in May, is under team control for two more seasons. As McCalvy aptly points out, there’s no real precedent for Boras to advise one of his clients against testing the open market, but Fielder doesn’t dismiss the notion at all.

“In the end, it’s my decision. But as my agent, he’s
going to make sure that I have the most information possible about
what’s going to benefit me and my family. That’s what it’s about first.
My family has to be happy, and then I go from there. There’s no urgency right now as far as that.”

These sound like some pretty canned remarks, consistent with a player contemplating free agency, but consider that fellow first basemen Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez could also hit the open market after the 2011 season. If all four stay healthy, they’ll attract large contracts from some of the game’s biggest spenders. One or two of them could agree to an extension before hitting free agency, but if they don’t, position scarcity could have a lot to say about where each of them end up. As of now, it figures to be quite a unique offseason.
 

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.