Should the Brewers trade Prince Fielder?

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Thumbnail image for fielder_prince_090928.jpgDave 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.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.