The buzz this week is that Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder is seeking a $200 million, eight-year contract. This comes on the heels of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio saying his club would lose money this season, even if it manages to again draw three million fans to Miller Park. (2009 attendance was 3,037,451, ninth best in the major leagues.)
Attanasio was quoted in USA Today last week saying, "We're struggling to sign [Fielder], and the Yankees infield is making more than our team." In response, Yankees president Randy Levine accused Attanasio of unwisely using the money he receives via revenue sharing from large-market teams like the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Forbes magazine released its annual ranking of Major League Baseball teams by their estimated worth. The Yankees top the list at $1.6 billion, with the Boston Red Sox coming in second at $870 million. The Brewers show up at 23rd, worth $351 million.
These themes have caused a lot of radio talk and Internet chatter in the early weeks of the 2010 baseball season, which could be Fielder's last in a Brewers uniform. The Brewers would be foolish to make 25-year-old Prince the highest-paid ballplayer not nicknamed A-Rod, particularly if a team desperate for his bat is looking to give up some solid pitching prospects for him.
I don't sense that Brewers fans are all that upset about this possibility. Ryan Braun, less mercurial than Fielder, is signed through 2015 and starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo just inked a five-year, $30 million deal. Plus, the star of this young season has been third baseman Casey McGehee, who's only making $400,000.