It's a done deal. The Milwaukee Brewers have signed first-baseman Prince Fielder to a two-year deal worth $18 million. This was an important move, because the Brewers avoid going into arbitration next year and have the luxury of having their star clean-up hitter happy.
Prince has had an outstanding career thus far, with 114 home runs and 312 RBIs to his name. He had a down season this year after having a career high in 2007 with a .288 average, 50 home runs, and 119 RBIs. In 2008, Prince's numbers dipped to a .276 average, 34 home runs, and 102 RBIs.
Even though Prince had a down season in many people's eyes, he still led the Brewers to their first post-season since reaching the World Series in 1982. Prince was incredible in September, hitting .316 and hit six home runs and drove in 21 RBIs.
It's a great feeling for Brewers fans, because it has not been a kind off-season for the Brewers. They lost CC Sabathia to the Yankees, Ben Sheets to free-agency, Gabe Kapler to the Rays, and closer Salomon Torres to retirement. That's a lot to lose after making the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.
Brewers' GM Doug Melvin will not lie down and cry about it. He signed veteran closer Trever Hoffman, veteran infielder Mike Lamb, reliever Jorge Julio, and now have Fielder locked-up for two more years. You can bet Melvin won't stop here, because he's still looking for another starting pitcher to add to the projected rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan, and Dave Bush.
On top of the free agency hunting, Melvin has his hands full with other players up for arbitration. He still needs to agree with right-fielder Corey Hart, who is seeking $3.8 million and second-baseman Rickie Weeks, who is seeking $2.8 million. The Brewers have offered Hart $2.7 million and Weeks $2 million.
The Brewers may be happy with Prince now, but what happens when his contract is up in 2011? The Brewers can't be optimistic they will be able to sign their hulking first-baseman when he becomes a free agent.
Teams like the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, and countless others will be licking their chops for the chance to sign the 270-pound slugger. Not to mention his agent is Scott Boras, who always looks for the richest contract for his clients and usually gets it. Chances are Prince will become a future DH, because of his weight issues and poor defense.
What can the Brewers expect from Prince in the next two seasons? Look for Prince to be more relaxed this season and next season he will be motivated to put up monster numbers with free agency looming.
He should still put up his average numbers of a .278 average, 37 homeruns, and 100 RBIs. There is hope for Brewers fans at least for the next two years as long as number 28 is batting third or clean up in the lineup everyday.