Dave Begel of On Milwaukee magazine thinks the answer is yes:
If you think [The Brewers] are a team that should contend every year and expect
that they will always be in the hunt for a playoff berth, then you say
of course you have to sign Fielder. Both Braun and Fielder are better
when they are both in the lineup.
But if you believe the Brewers are trying to catch lightning in a
bottle and need a minor miracle to win a World Series against the big
boys, then you say it’s okay to trade Fielder. God knows what you could
get for him, but it would certainly be a lot of talent . . . I think this team gets a lot closer to the World Series without
Prince Fielder in the lineup.
Seems radical, but this viewpoint has a supporter in Rob Neyer, who thinks that while trading Fielder may be a big P.R. hit, bringing in some talent for the big guy, not having to pay him big money and installing Mat Gamel at first base — with Casey McGehee at third — would make Milwaukee a better, more competitive team for the long haul.
Would Doug Melvin consider this? Right now it seems that trading him would be far-fetched. But, if the Brewers find themselves out of the race at some point this year, it’s got to be something they consider, because (a) while Milwaukee draws well, they don’t have access to a money tree; and (b) Fielder, represented by Scott Boras, is not going to sign some club-friendly deal prior to hitting the open market.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.