In an era where the new gold standard is no longer a million dollars but the almighty billion dollars, sports superstars are looking for every million they can drain out of these loaded sports franchises.
Boston Red Sox First-Baseman Adrian Gonzalez’ seven-year contract worth 154 million is a perfect example of such a thing.
The situation will be no different for Milwaukee Brewers Prince Fielder in 2012 when he becomes a free agent under the infamous Scott Boras.
Unfortunately for the Prince, the days of a designated hitter being crazily overpaid in the American League seems to be coming to an end. That’s why my top five destinations for Fielder are riddled with National League foes.
Follow the jump to see which teams are most likely to snatch up the left-handed slugger.
By: Nick Grays
1.) Chicago Cubs
I’m not sure the Brewers would like it, but quite frankly, the rival Cubs seem like the best fit for the big man. They will surely have the money to give him with Kosuke Fukodome and Carlos Pena’s contracts coming off the books next season.
Add in the fact that Chicago is always looking for a left-handed bat who hits 30+ home-runs a season and you have a match in heaven.
Fielder might be known as a Cubbie Killer in Milwaukee, but money can change almost anything, right?
2.) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are a team on the rise under new Manger Buck Showalter. They will make strides in 2011, but will probably fall short of their AL East counterparts due to a couple of missing pieces.
They’ve shown interest for highly-touted hitters in the past (Mark Teixeira) and realistically have room in their payroll for Mr. Fielder.
With first-baseman Derek Lee signed to a one-year deal, they would also have the choice to deploy Fielder in a DH role or at first-base.
3.) New York Mets
Never count out the Mets, they have been known to go out and spend a whole lot of money on an offensively talented hitter before.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran who makes over 20 million a year will be off the payroll and to keep up with the Philadelphia Phillies, they will have to do something.
If Jose Reyes’ extension goes smoothly, expect New York to make a splash in the free agent market following a disappointing season in 2011.
4.) St. Louis Cardinals
Fielder is no Pujols, but could be looked at as a relatively cheaper version of the same amount of home-runs and RBI pending the Prince stays in shape and continues to play with the swagger he does now.
While I think fans in St. Louis would warm up to Fielder, there’s no way they can let Pujols go, can they?
5.) Milwaukee Brewers
Boras and Fielder will definitely be looking for somewhere in the upwards of 20 million a season and at least five to seven years in a long-term contract.
I wouldn’t completely eliminate the Brewers from the picture because the free agent market could be god awful.
Additionally, the team has shown a propensity to keep around their recent home-brewed prospects (Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo and Corey Hart).
What concerns me is that Milwaukee could really cripple their future with a deal worth that much money if Fielder doesn’t pan out.
Where do you think Prince Fielder suits up in 2012? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Follow paulmbanks