For Brewers, Time Is Right to Trade Prince Fielder
Every fan that boarded the Brewers bandwagon in the past three years has come to adore Fielder and his curious charms. He's got the trademark past—a famous feud with his ex-All Star dad—and a huge swing that draws crowds to the stadium.
However, if there is one principle when it comes to baseball, it is to buy low and to sell high.
Given Fielder's prolific September in which he single-handily sent the Brewers to the playoffs, the Brewers should trade him to the team offering the most. Using this principle, Milwaukee has reaped a true harvest of talent in the past.
Former Brewer first baseman Richie Sexson was a two-time All-Star, including his first appearance in 2002 when the All Star Game was played at a brand new Miller Park. Hitting .279 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs in 2002, at age 27 he helped the Brewers win a paltry 56 games in a season where manager Davey Lopes lost his job.
Enter Ned Yost in 2003. With Sexson starting at first base and appearing in all 162 games, the slugger hit .272 with 45 home runs and 124 RBIs.
Heading into the 2004 season, Sexson's stock could not have been higher. His mid-20s were set to be his prime, and the Brewers cashed in for Sexson.
In a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Brewers sent Shane Nance, Noochie Varner, and Sexson to Arizona in return for first baseman Lyle Overbay, second baseman Junior Spivey, infielder Craig Counsell, catcher Chad Moeller, and pitchers Chris Capuano and Jorge de la Rosa.
All six players that came to Milwaukee spent time with the big league club, and all contributed.
Junior Spivey manned second base until Rickie Weeks assumed the position. When Weeks was called up for full-time duty, Spivey was dealt to the Montreal Expos for Tomo Ohka. Ohka spent his time in Milwaukee as a fifth starter and performed marginally.
Overbay gave the Brewers fan base a new fan favorite for two years and manned the position until Fielder was ready to come up from the minors. The lovable first baseman, who would elicit chants of "Ohhh" from the crowds, eventually garnered pitchers Zach Jackson and David Bush along with outfielder Gabe Gross when he was traded.
Craig Counsell and Chad Moeller were used in bench roles, although Counsell has spent a majority of the years since the trade with the Milwaukee organization due in large part to his home town of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin being just over a two-hour drive.
The real catch of the deal, however, was Chris Capuano. Despite control issues in his 2007 season and an injury that cost him all of 2008, Capuano won 18 games in 2006 and made the All Star Game.
As for Jorge de la Rosa, the prospect starting pitcher never translated into anything special at the big league level and was traded to the Kansas City Royals for infielder Tony Graffanino.
The impact of trading one talented first baseman who is about to approach his prime can influence the direction of an organization. In the case of the Brewers, the return of the trade were the building blocks for a successful future.
Trading Fielder, who is still quite young and entering just his first year of arbitration, means the amount teams will be willing to part with will increase substantially.
Imagine what the Brewers could get in return for a player who, at age 23, draws comparisons in a statistical manner to Lou Gehrig, Willie McCovey, and Willey Mays.
With the likelihood of C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets suiting up for different teams next season, the Brewers have a mammoth-sized hole in their starting rotation. To fill that mammoth gap, they need to trade mammoth talent.
Whispers of Fielder being available on the trading market have already been heard, as the winter meetings will not only include talk of trading Padres ace Jake Peavy, but perhaps the Brewers' lone vegetarian first baseman, Prince Fielder.
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