Fielder states the obvious, calls it his ‘last year’ with Brewers

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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 …)

Nobody?

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.

The Chicago Tribune has the goods:

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.

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Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.