Monday, April 05, 2010

Brewers Say Talks Ongoing With Prince

Outside of the season starting and all the hoopla that comes along with it, the big story in Milwaukee is something that doesn't happen until after the 2011 season.

First baseman Prince Fielder has two years left on his current contract, but the fact that he can walk after next season already has Brewer fans nervous.

If they had their way, the big man would have been signed to an extension sometime last month. Instead, the Brewers and Fielder are still talking about the potential for a new contract. Given that Fielder is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, it just doesn't seem too terribly likely that Milwaukee will have a lot of success buying Prince out of free agency, unless they can make him a bank-breaking offer.

Any low likelihood of Prince signing won't stop the Brewers from trying. After all, the worst he can say is "No."

Well, the worst thing he could say "(Bleep) you," but that doesn't seem too likely, even from the ultra-intense Prince.

Anyway, the Brewers say talks have kicked off, and they won't be updating us regularly.

Fielder can be a free agent after the 2011 season but the Brewers are trying to tie him up with a long-term extension before he gets to that stage. Melvin and Attanasio met in Los Angeles during spring training with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, to get the ball rolling.

"One of the things we've said is we're not going to give a moment-to-moment handicap of where things are at, so that it looks like a stock chart," Attanasio said.

"Discussions are ongoing. Most importantly, I think Prince is relaxed. I saw him in the clubhouse this morning. What we don't want is for this to be a distraction to him. One of the reasons we're not going to give day-to-day or weekly reports on this is we don't want it to distract Prince. We don't think it's a distraction now.

"We'll continue the conversations and we'll see where it goes."

Attanasio said he perfectly understood why fans are nervous about Fielder leaving via free agency.

"He's a great player," said Attanasio. "He and Ryan (Braun) have pretty much become the face of our team. He hit 46 home runs and drove in 141 runs last year. I can see why everybody is interested. Doug and I are interested, too. But it's very complex.

"When you talk about $100 million type contracts, it's nine figures. Those are complex transactions. They don't get done with a quick conversation and a handshake. Everything has to line up to make it work. Having said that, there's a mutual intent on both sides to try to make it work. We'll see if we can make it work."

Nothing too huge here, but it's news.

A lot of this hinges on how willing Prince is to commit long-term to the Brewers. Yes, Boras has a reputation for being, well, an ass, but the reality is that he works for Prince, and his job is to do what Prince wants him to do.

If Prince wants to stay with the Brewers, and their offer is in the range he's looking for, he'll sign. If he wants more than the club offers him, there's no question that he will at least test the market after the 2011 season.

If he's still a Brewer by then.

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