They are the ones people associate with the positive change that has taken place in recent years. They are the ones fans buy tickets to watch more than anyone else on the current Brewers roster. They are the ones fans of other teams think of first upon hearing the name of the Brewers franchise.
But they are also the ones that will cost more money than anyone else on this team in the long run.
All signs indicate that Fielder will turn down an offer from the Brewers arriving before he is able to test the market. He already did it once and there is no doubt that Scott Boras will seek the most lucrative contract possible for his agent.
The Brewers may simply not be able to keep up in the bidding, and the clubs probably know that.
So if the Brewers try to pursue Prince this winter and are unsuccessful, the question that arises is whether there will ever be a better time to trade the young slugger. The winner of the 2009 Home Run Derby put up MVP type season that is only being overlooked due to the out-of-this-world performance of Albert Pujols.
The longer the Brewers wait, the less they will be able to get in return, unless Fielder is able to manufacture another impressive season that will confirm to teams around the league that he is worth giving a lot of talent for after the 2010 season.
The Brewers have many aspects of their team to fix, and it is unlikely that they will be able to sport a team able to fight for a postseason appearance while keeping all the currently existing pieces of the puzzle.
This may have been possible in previous years but in a situation of economic uncertainty teams are artificially heightening the price the Brewers will have to pay to acquire good players via trades.
The main concern of the club is the lack of available quality pitchers that could improve a starting rotation that would find it very difficult to perform worse than it did this season. The Brew Crew starters were in a duel with their counterparts from the Baltimore Orioles to be awarded the worst pitching rotation in professional baseball.
Based on ERA anyway.
So unless the Brewers are able to complete a trade for an ace pitcher, or for a couple of good pitchers to compliment Gallardo, without parting with too much, it is reasonable to wonder if keeping Prince Fielder for another season when his value is likely the highest it will ever be is a wise choice.
Undoubtedly, trading Fielder will cause an uproar among Brewers supporters, and the effect on ticket sales would be difficult to predict. People will wonder if the Brewers pulled the trigger on a trade too early when the team could be competitive next season even with less than stellar pitching.
But if the team knows that Fielder will be lost at one point or another, wouldn't it be wise to trade him when he will give you the most value in return?
A decision about Prince should be made later in the offseason, once the team has a better grasp on what the roster will look like in 2010.
And if at that point it appears that the quality of the pitching staff and the overall roster will make it difficult for the Brewers to compete again, I think that the possibility of trading the Prince of Milwaukee should at least be considered and explored.
On the other hand, if the Brewers believe that the financial benefit of keeping Fielder for another season, especially when he commands a contract way below his player level, is too great to lose, he should be kept, and a trade explored during the 2010 season depending on how the team is doing at the break.
The speculations about Braun or Fielder getting traded were addressed during last week's wrap-up press conference given by Doug Melvin and the Brewers. There, the Brewers General Manager assured fans that the club has no intentions to trade either young star, but that the baseball operations department of the Brewers organization will instead look for ways to compliment the young sluggers with talent great enough to put the team back in October.
How successful Melvin and his staff will be in attracting a good enough supporting cast may determine how open the Brewers GM will be to trading Prince Fielder away prior to the 2010 season.
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