Prince Fielder and the Brewers avoided arbitration today with a $15.5 million deal in what will be his last arbitration contract. The deal makes Fielder the highest-paid Brewer of all time, passing Zack Greinke, who has held the title for a couple of weeks.
Attention Reds fans who keep asking me why the team would agree to buy out Joey Votto’s arbitration years for $38 million while not getting any free agent years from him: this deal is the reason. If Votto had gone to arbitration for all three years, he’d easily exceed $38 million given the precedent set by Ryan Howard and Fielder’s arbitration deals. It gave the Reds cost-certainty and saved them several million dollars. That’s not nothing.
As for Fielder: the Brewers have loaded for bear this winter, Fielder has apparently lost some weight and he’s poised for free agency after the 2011 season. Anyone betting against a huge year by the guy had better be getting great odds.