Quick everyone, raise your hand if you expect Prince Fielder to sign a huge free-agent deal this offseason to return to the Milwaukee Brewers.
(… waits …)
Well I can’t say that I’m surprised. Neither apparently, does Prince Fielder, who told TBS on Wednesday that this would likely be his last season in Milwaukee.
Fielder made a reference to teammate Ryan Braun and regrets that the duo won’t stick together after this season.
“It’s been great, unfortunately, this is probably the last year of the one-two punch,” Fielder said. “But I think it’s been good, five years, him and me. Hopefully, we can go out with a blast.”
The Brewers are in position to win their first division title since 1982, when Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and co. went all the way to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. They will not be favored to get that far this fall, not with the powerhouse Phillies ruling the National League.
The Brewers say they will make Fielder an offer after the season, and maybe a deep playoff run (along with the champagne parties that go with it) will convince ownership to open it’s wallet. But with big money committed to Ryan Braun ($61 million), Rickie Weeks ($34 million) and Corey Hart ($20 million) beyond this season, expected raises coming for arbitration-eligibles like Shawn Marcum and John Axford, as well as the question of what to do with Zack Greinke (a free agent after 2012), a serious play for Fielder seems unlikely.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Brewers will cease to be a contender after 2011. After all, it was an improved pitching staff that led to their rise this season, with only the Phillies, Braves and Giants allowing fewer runs per game in the NL this season.
That being said, it sure is fun to watch the big guy hit a baseball. Players like Fielder don’t come along too often. Enjoy him while you’ve got him, Brewers fans.