Monday, March 3, 2008

Prince Ain't Happy

The Milwaukee Brewers are under no obligation to make Prince Fielder a millionaire yet, and they aren't:
The Milwaukee Brewers renewed the slugger's deal for $670,000 on Sunday after finishing third in NL MVP voting last season.

"I'm not happy about it at all," Fielder said. "The fact I've had to be renewed two years in a row, I'm not happy about it because there's a lot of guys who have the same amount of time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more.

"But my time is going to come. It's going to come quick, too."

With so many young players getting their arbitration years bought out recently, you'd think Prince Fielder, his 50 home runs and his 1000+ OPS would get the same treatment, but apparently that's not the case.

After buying out the uncertainty of arbitration, one of the biggest considerations in giving a young player a longer deal is the desire to build good will with the player to as to lessen the likelihood of him leaving once he reaches free agency. That may be something the Brewers aren't all that worried about, however. Not that they think Fielder is locked in to Milwaukee but, rather, that he may be done as a marquee player by the time he's 27 and eligible to go wherever he wants. Yes Prince is young, and yes he's effective, but he's just under six feet tall and pushing 300 pounds, and guys like that don't tend to have long careers.

The first couple of rough physical comps I could think of were Greg Luzinski and Boog Powell. They were both effective past age 27, but not as long past age 27 as a lot of big time sluggers. Maybe a more apt example is that of Cecil Feilder who ceased being a truly valuable player at around 30 or so and, in all honesty, wasn't as squat and wasn't as fat as Prince is, even in his early 30s.

Don't get me wrong -- I love Prince Fielder as a player, and I'm not suggesting he's anything close to done. I mean, the man's not even 24 yet. I'm a soft touch, so I'd probably give him some kind of deal buying out his arb years. It would make him happy, would make his teammates happy, and would send a signal to other players that Milwaukee is a good place to be. Still, the Brewers are no longer run by idiots, and they may very well have concluded that they're already guaranteed to get the six most effective seasons Prince Fielder will ever have and may be interested in paying as little as possible for those six seasons.

Given his body type and skill set, that may not be a bad conclusion.

UPDATE: Same story with Cole Hamels in Philly. Different considerations apply if you're Phillies management, of course, but an unhappy star is an unhappy star.

1 comment:

Jeff J. Snider said...

Cecil Fielder was listed as 6'3", 240 pounds. I went to an Angels/Tigers game in 1994, when I was a 17-year-old high student and Cecil was still somewhat in his prime. At the time, I was 6'1", 290 pounds. I was down near the field getting autographs, etc., and I talked to Cecil for a few minutes while he signed some autographs. When I got back to my friends, they were all in awe at how thin Cecil made me look. Between his two extra inches of height and his several extra inches of circumference, there is absolutely no was that he weighed 240. I'd be shocked if he was less than 320 at that point in time.

So anyway, I guess that's a long way of saying I disagree with you when you say that Cecil was never as fat as Prince is.