Mauer Keeps it Small Market, Gives Fielder Fans Hope


By: Melissa S. Wollering

Prince Fielder and Joe Mauer are two very different MLB players.  The one thing they could have in common—a desire to buck the trend of big market baseball and stay with their respective clubs, steering clear of the free agent market free-for-all. 

If Joe Mauer’s eight-year $184 million deal Sunday sounded a lot like Mark Teixeira’s, your memory serves you correctly. As Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio walked around Maryvale Ballpark in Arizona Monday, his checkbook was probably burning a hole in his pocket. But before he pulls out his pen, Mark knows three things matter when it comes to Fielder: Milwaukee’s ability to cough up a comparable chunk of coin, the projected long-term success of the ballclub and the returning talent on its roster.

Just as Mauer plans to return to his partners-in-crime Morneau, Young, Cuddyer, Kubel and Hudson, it is clear Prince would love to continue playing with Braun, Weeks, Hart, Gallardo and even Counsell.  Prince makes friends but has his favorites.  Watching him warm-up at Spring Training, it was more of a brotherly reunion on the field the first few days than a precursor to major league play.

Keeping current talent and attracting new and/or veteran talent will be a major factor. Prince enjoys helping guys like Lorenzo Cain but also appreciates when the Brewers pick up a guy like Jim Edmonds. Prince knows he’s not a one-man machine. Not only does he want to inspire, he wants to be inspired, too.

Taking that talent and winning a pennant with it is the next thing on Prince’s Wish List. It’s every player’s dream to play in the World Series and Prince is no different.  The Brewers have a significantly better chance with Fielder and Braun instead of just Braun each season from here on out. But will the Milwaukee Brewers have any money left to pay 38 other players?

That last concern is likely the make-or-break.  GM Doug Melvin told reporters Monday that you can keep anyone if you’re willing to pay market-price. Mauer clearly obtained what he wanted without testing free-agency waters. Fielder may not have that luxury.

The Milwaukee Brewers have this season to wheel-and-deal with Prince. Melvin has said talks are ongoing but zero details have been released, undoubtedly with good reason. Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, already helped client Mark Teixeira so Boras has seen it all before.

Whether Prince is willing to stay small market to achieve a similar, but probably lesser contract than Teixiera or Mauer remains to be seen. Until then, thank you Joe. Your statement will resonate even louder if Fielder follows in your footsteps.


  1. Andy Weise says

    Mauer’s contract is significantly lower if he’s a first basemen. Fielder certainly won’t get, or shouldn’t get, a big payday like that. If the Brewers have to pay 20+ a season, forget it. He’s not worth that money.

    The Brewers did lock up Braun on a steal though.

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