Milwaukee Brewers: Predicting the Fate of Each 2012 Free Agent This Offseason

Alec Dopp@alecdoppCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2011

Milwaukee Brewers: Predicting the Fate of Each 2012 Free Agent This Offseason

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    The postseason is in sight for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Owning the best home winning percentage (75.4 percent) of any team in MLB, the Brewers clearly have something "brewing" when it comes to success on home turf.

    Postseason success isn't the only thing on the minds of Brewer nation, though.

    As the 2012 MLB offseason draws nearer, fans must come to grips with the fact that Prince Fielder may not be with their beloved club in 2012.  Other notable free agents have questionable futures, as well.

    Is there enough dough sitting around to resign some of their players with expiring contracts this offseason?  Let's determine the fate of each Brewer free agent.

    Follow Alec Dopp on Twitter: @alecdopp.  Click here to read more from Alec.

LaTroy Hawkins

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    Hawkins, 38, is in the midst of a personal best season, and has clearly been one of Milwaukee's top relief arms to this point in the season.

    Thus far, Hawkins carries a 1.67 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 20 SO and has allowed just one home run in 37.2 innings of work.  If the Brewers do attempt to resign him, it will be at a bargain price that Hawkins may turn down.

    Pitching coach Rick Kranitz believes Hawkins still has the command to pitch at a high level for the next few years, and that could play a huge role in whether or not GM Doug Melvin decides to bring him back in 2012.

    Either way, I don't like the looks of this.  The Brewers will need all the cash they can get to try and bring back Prince Fielder.

    Prediction: Does NOT resign with Milwaukee 

Craig Counsell

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    Though the 40-year-old Counsell went nearly two months without recording a hit earlier this season, he has been a model of consistency and dependability for the better part of his 15-year career.

    Thus far in 2011, Counsell is batting .151 with 4 RBI, 0 HR and has a .250 OBP.  If the Brewers do offer him a new contract, it'll likely be a one-year deal worth considerably lower than what he's making in 2011 ($1.4 million).

    Manager Ron Roenicke views Counsell as an absolute asset offensively and defensively, and defended him even in his near infamous 0-for-45 hitless streak.

    With second-baseman Rickie Weeks due back from an ankle injury in the next 10-15 days, Counsell's role within the offense will be severely diminished.  Even so, with Roenicke's revolving-door type of mindset, I wouldn't be surprised of he convinces management to re-sign the veteran.

    Prediction: Re-signs with Milwaukee; 1-year, $500,000

Yuniesky Betancourt (maintains 2012 Option)

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    At the beginning of the season, Betancourt was viewed as more of a liability rather than an asset.  Batting a combined .225 with just 18 RBI in 178 at-bats in the months of April and May, I'm shocked Roenicke didn't send him to the bench for while.

    In Milwaukee's latest surge to the top of the NL Central, however, Betancourt has become one of Roenicke's most valuable players.  In the month of August, Betancourt is hitting .339 with 11 RBI.

    Defensively, Betancourt has been a gem and, if his hitting keeps up into the postseason, he'll be back in Milwaukee in 2012.

    A lot will be riding on these last few months, but expect the Brewers to pick up Betancourt's 2012 option this winter.

    Prediction: Milwaukee picks up 2012 option

Prince Fielder

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    Oh, the agony.

    Fielder has been putting up monster numbers thus far in 2011, which only makes resigning him in the offseason that more difficult.

    The 27-year-old slugger is batting .305 with 27 HR, 89 RBI and has the fourth-highest OPS (.982) in all of baseball.  In the month of August, Fielder is hitting .373 with 3 HR and 13 RBI.

    There's no doubt Fielder's impact in Milwaukee will have teams salivating this winter, and with the money some clubs are potentially willing to throw at him, it seems next to impossible for the Brewers to resign him given their average payroll.

    As with many "to-be" free agents, a lot will be riding on the last few months of the season.  If Milwaukee is able to make a deep postseason run, Fielder might be willing to take a hometown discount to stay where he thinks he has the best shot at long-term success.

    But, as conventional wisdom tells us, "money talks."  Would you turn down $200 million?

    Prediction: Does NOT resign with Milwaukee

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