Prince Fielder is about to be promoted to King. An appropriate king’s ransom will follow.
Since mid-season Fielder has made it clear that he was going to be looking for a new city to forward his mail to from Milwaukee and the soon-to-be-ex Brewer seems poised to collect on one of the biggest free agency deals of all-time, if not the biggest. At 27, he is in the prime of his career, a slugging monster at the plate with no apparent downside except hiring with a barber who could trim his beard a little bit neater. And it wouldn’t kill him to consult with Jenny Craig, either, about how to trim 20 pounds from his bulky frame. Fielder must be the heaviest vegetarian in the universe. Guess chocolate counts as a vegetable.
But I digress. The three-time All-Star, who was Most Valuable Player in this year’s All-Star game, and helped carry the Brewers to a division title and the playoffs, is on the open market and depending on how many teams feel wealthy, could top CC Sabathia‘s just-signed five-year, $122 million contract with the Yankees.
Bank account-breaking aside, any team would benefit from Fielder’s big bat, and an American League team might not even ask him to field. This may not be the worst idea since he committed 15 errors and he recorded the lowest first-baseman fielding average in the majors at .990. He could be a full-time designated hitter with the marching orders of “OK, big guy, just go up there and rip the heck out of the ball and we’ll call you back in a couple of innings to do it again.”
The son of former slugger Cecil Fielder, Prince and his dad are the only father-son combination to club 50 home runs in a season. There may never be another one.
The Brewers were built to win in 2011, but got only so far. Fielder let it be known weeks ago that he was definitely going the free-agent route. After all, he only collected $15.5 million on his contract this year. Any team that is one bat away from winning a pennant and reaching the World Series should be interested in Fielder.
Fielder owns a lifetime average of .282, with 230 home runs. He also has a career .390 on-base percentage. This season Fielder batted .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs. He was intentionally walked 32 times, which represents serious respect from pitchers. There is every indication he can churn out seasons like that year after year for a long time. He stands 5-foot-11 and his announced weight is 285 pounds. One worry might be that if Fielder gets a cushy deal he might gain pounds and lose sharpness. A team will have to count on his pride overruling his appetite.
Given the questionmark surrounding Ryan Howard because of his playoff Achilles tendon injury, Fielder could be a good fit with the Phillies. The other big-spending teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels could engage in talks, at least to see how much money it will take to sign Fielder. If the Cubs are determined to make a high-profile move to begin the turn-around process in Chicago, they might go after Fielder checkbook blazing.
Of course, Fielder might be choosy, not only about which team has the most money to spend, but about which team seems to have the right mix of players surrounding him in the batting order. After all, a king needs his court.