The Milwaukee Brewers are hovering around .500, which isn't good news for fans that want to see the Brewers keep their All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder.
According to many reports, it appears as though he will not re-sign in Milwaukee, which of course opens up the possibility of a July blockbuster.
The good news is, if the Brewers fall out of contention by the trade deadline, there will be a few suitors barring injuries that would be interested in obtaining his services.
The bad news is, if the Brewers are in contention, they aren't going to get anything if he leaves as a free agent. This installment will look at each team's chances of getting Fielder or if they need him at all.
The odds of the Padres getting Prince Fielder are bordering on zero. The Padres didn’t have the money to re-sign their own All-Star, Adrian Gonzalez, so the idea of signing or trading for Prince isn’t going to happen.
However, in the immortal words of The Office's Kevin Malone, “If somebody gives you 10,000-to-one odds, you take them.” Sorry Kevin, it’s not going to happen in San Diego.
This may be kind of a cop-out but I’m going to lump the next few teams into the same group because of the same reason: money. The Mets, Rays and Astros all have major financial problems.
The Mets and Astros are both in selling mode, via their owners, and the Rays had a major overhaul last season. If the Mets were in a better financial situation, I could have seen them going after Prince but with talk of trading Reyes and possibly Wright, there’s no way they go after Prince.
In the same breath, the Astros learned their lesson giving Carlos Lee the huge contract they did and now have no way to get rid of it. Odds: 9,999:1
In another cop-out on my part, I’m going to lump the next few teams into a group that already have established first basemen. There will be some teams that are omitted because they may lose their current first basement to free agency.
The Tigers (Miguel Cabrera), Twins (Justin Morneau until he gets injured), Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez), Phillies (Ryan Howard), and Reds (Joey Votto) all have established first basemen that are signed to longer-term deals. These teams also don’t really have any other places to put their star first basemen now as they aren’t exactly third basemen type with the exception of Cabrera.
None of these teams will be in the Prince sweepstakes. Odds: 9,998:1
The Cleveland Indians are in a rebuilding mode as well. Once upon a time, they traded Bartolo Colon for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. Still to this day it is an unbelievable trade and again makes you wonder what Montreal could have been.
Anyway, the Indians are trying to rebuild at bargain prices but aren’t having much luck. Attendance is down and although they are in first place, I don’t think they would jeopardize the future for the present. Odds: 800:1
The Kansas City Royals once upon a time may have made a play for Prince but those days are coming to an end. You don’t see the Royals overpaying for much of anybody anymore.
In fact, they underpay and are stockpiling talent to make a huge run in the next few years with the amount of talent they have in the minors. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler are both first basemen with Hosmer being far and away better defensively than Butler.
There isn’t any room for Prince right now and they may not trade the farm to get him. Odds 750:1
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been down this road before. Sign the big name or trade for the big name and then see what happens. They did win a World Series in 2001, but haven’t done much since.
I don’t think they are in a position to offer the money, nor would they want to lose the prospects possibly needed to get Prince. Odds: 725:1
I promise this is my last cop-out. I’m lumping together the A’s and the Pirates.
Before you hit the comment button and scream insanity listen to my reasoning, the A’s have tried this before, and failed, with Ben Sheets. The idea was to sign him then trade him off for prospects. The A’s were to have also been rumored to have been after Adrian Beltre this offseason before he signed with Texas, so there is some type of a history.
The Pirates are in the midst of one of the worst losing streaks in MLB history and aren’t drawing well. Still, they have some pieces in place and may try to make a splash with a huge (and that would be an understatement) signing, but it’s unlikely this will happen. Odds for both: 600:1
I would have put the Dodgers in the same group as the Mets, Rays and Astros but I just can’t and it’s for one reason: the Texas Rangers. As many of you may remember, last year the Rangers had filed for bankruptcy and MLB came in and payrolled the team for a couple months until new owner Nolan Ryan and company bought the team.
I think if MLB takes over the Dodgers, there is a slight chance, if the Dodgers are in contention, that they make a move. By the trade deadline, they may have a buyer or at least the financial side figured out and be able to make a Prince deal work. Who knows with MLB? Odds: 500:1
The White Sox are in win-now mode and so far haven’t followed through. They paid big money to sign Adam Dunn as well keep Paul Konerko. They also shelled out for reliever Jesse Crain. I can’t see them freeing up enough money to sign Prince regardless of the situation.
Still, GM Kenny Williams has made blockbuster trades with less and if they are to get Prince, he’ll have to do it this year as well. Odds: 250:1
The Colorado Rockies have huge money locked up in Car-Go and Troy Tulowitzki and don’t seem to have much more flexibility from that standpoint. Still, the Rockies are eventually, sooner rather than later, going to have to replace Jason Giambi and Todd Helton.
I’m not sure if the Rockies are in a position to trade or sign Prince but they do have a glaring need at first base coming soon. Odds: 200:1
The Milwaukee Brewers have tipped their hand with regards to Prince in the contract extension of Ryan Braun. Personally, I think this was the right move but it does leave Prince with a decision to make: Stay with the club that drafted him and maintain one of the top 3-4 hitter combinations in the majors or go elsewhere.
In order for the Brewers to keep Prince, he will have to agree to significantly less money than he could get on the market. For this reason, I don’t think the Brewers keep him, but never say never. Odds: 100:1
The Blue Jays freed up a lot of money with the trading of Vernon Wells to the Angels but I don’t know if it would be enough to get Prince. They seem to be moving in the right direction and with the power the Jays are capable of night in and night out, he would seem to be a good fit.
I just don’t know if the Jays will go down that road of big contracts again. Odds: 100:1
The Atlanta Braves are a wild card in the chase for Fielder as well. The Braves like their first baseman of the future in Freddie Freeman but if Freeman is capable of moving say across the diamond for Chipper Jones, it may make sense for the Braves to take a hard look at Fielder.
They have Dan Uggla locked up at second and having Fielder at first would make a very powerful right side of the infield that would rival their division foes the Phillies. Odds: 100:1
I am so tempted to put the Yankees in the same category as the Reds, Tigers, Twins and Phillies but I can’t simply because they are the Yankees. They have an established first baseman in Mark Teixeira so there isn’t a need there.
The only thing I could think of is if Prince doesn’t want to play first base every day and is content making millions as a DH.
If that is the case, the Yankees have the prospects to trade for Prince and the money to sign him. They lost out on Lee and if they’re serious about Prince, they’ll land him this time. Odds: 50:1
The Marlins are another unique team. Usually, they are the sellers and end up getting prospects. Some of them turn into Hanley Ramirez, some of them don’t.
The difference this time is they are moving into a new stadium with two bona fide stars in Ramirez and Josh Johnson. I personally believe both of these deals are like stealing, as if they were to hit the open market they would get three figures easily.
With that being said, in order to get fans in the seats, the signing of Fielder would be huge. They need a first baseman and should have some money with the revenue generated from the new stadium a la Minnesota Twins. Odds: 50:1
The Angels have a first baseman in Kendry Morales. The problem is we’re close to a year out and he isn’t back from a leg injury that occurred last year.
The Angels are always in the hunt for the big names on the free-agent market and if there is an opportunity to sign Fielder then they will at the cost of moving Morales. The West is getting better and the Angels, financially, have the tools to keep up with the rest of the division. Odds 25:1
The Giants are in need of offensive help because, well, their offense has been offensive. Looking at the Giants payroll, there aren’t a lot of highly paid players with the exception of Tim Lincecum. They have money and a need to get a power hitting first baseman.
Yes, they do have Brandon Belt but I think if they could get Prince, they’d do it. They have the pitching, as we saw last year, to win on that alone but having Fielder in that lineup makes that pitching that much scarier. Odds: 15:1
The last of the maybe's are the Cardinals. I truly believe they will re-sign Albert to a ridiculous amount of money but he will in fact stay in St. Louis.
However, if the two sides can’t come to some agreement, I think the Cardinals would make a push for Fielder. He wouldn’t cost as much as Pujols and isn’t the player Albert is, but he is a top-10 first baseman.
The Cards getting him is all based on whether or not Albert re-signs. If he does, the Cardinals are now in the 10,000:1 category. If not, they immediately jump to a 10:1 favorite.
The last few slides are who I consider the favorites to sign Fielder should they trade for him or he hits the open market. I’m going to start with the Rangers.
I think the Rangers are in a position that they could sign Fielder to an extension if they were to trade for him. They have money now with the big television contract they signed, and have a fanbase still wanting more after their World Series appearance last year.
If given the opportunity to upgrade from Michael Young or Mitch Moreland, the Rangers do it as fast as a Nolan Ryan fastball. Odds 10:1
The Chicago Cubs are next on the list. They have money as well and signed Carlos Pena only to a one-year deal. They are in need of star power and with the uncertainty of Pujols in St. Louis, they may try and pick up another divisional rival’s first baseman.
This is assuming a couple things: 1)The Brewers are out of it at the trade deadline (unlikely) or 2) Pujols hits free agency and the Cubs go after him, which would be 10 times sweeter. Odds: 10:1
The Nationals have offered up big money to keep Adam Dunn and did sign Jayson Werth to an absurd contract this last offseason.
They have star power in Stephen Strasburg and potential star power in Bryce Harper so they have some building blocks. They also have a hot catching prospect in Wilson Ramos from the Twins. Put these together along with Ryan Zimmerman and Werth, you are close to a very good, young team.
Having Fielder in the middle of that order would automatically put them near the top of the NL East. Odds: 5:1
The Baltimore Orioles are a notch below the Nationals but are in a position to spend as well. They have a one-year deal with Derrek Lee, which would free up first base, and have stars in Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis.
Peter Angelos used to spend all types of money and never saw much of a return. The money is starting to reassert itself and in order for the Orioles to contend in the East, they need the big bat that Fielder provides. Odds: 5:1
We now come to who I think will end up with Fielder when it’s all said and done: the Seattle Mariners. If the Mariners decide to trade for him, they have some pieces to offer.
One of which is Justin Smoak, who was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, and Dustin Ackley, if they wanted to trade off one of their top prospects.
Adding Fiedler to Felix and Ichiro would get people excited again in the Pacific Northwest.
There are two things that concern me with them signing Fielder: 1) The Mariners have tried this before with Richie Sexon and Adrian Beltre, which didn’t work out too well, and 2) The Mariners spent so much money in the early 2000’s that they are just now getting out of the guaranteed money promised to those players.
I think Seattle is primed again to return to the top of the AL West and adding Fielder would make them a favorite. Odds: 2:1