Can the Brewers Keep Prince Fielder in Milwaukee Past 2011?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IMarch 8, 2010

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits at first base against the San Francisco Giants during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 4, 2010 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Can the Brewers keep Prince Fielder past 2011?

Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers GM, thinks so but the debate lingers on:

So is it possible to pay Fielder what the market might bear in two years, thereby allocating a disproportionate chunk of a small-market team's payroll to one player?

"It's possible," said Melvin, noting that other teams have done it. "But it's challenging."

Then he reiterated what the Brewers have been saying for the last few weeks: "Our goal is to keep Prince here," Melvin said.

Melvin can talk optimistically about keeping Prince in Milwaukee, but the fact remains that if Prince wants to maximize his earning potential, then the Brewers will have a tough time keeping him.

ESPN's Buster Olney outlined Prince's future in Milwaukee a few weeks back , and while he sounds more optimistic about the Brewers keeping Prince long-term than most writers have been, I still think the odds of Prince staying in Milwaukee are slim.

You have to think that the Brewers will have to commit almost $20 million annually to Prince, which is a major issue when the Brewers payroll will likely remain in the $80-$90 million dollar range in the future.

Can the Brewers afford to spend $20 million annually on one player and still expect to compete?

I think not, but then again, they are spending $17 million this season on Dave Riske and Jeff Suppan, so what do I know?