MikeHunt writes something stupid. For some reason, I am compelled to dissect it. Some days, I feel like Sisyphus.
There is no debate that the Milwaukee Brewers need starting pitching.
You can say the same thing about, oh, 29 other teams in Major League Baseball. For fuck's sake, the Red Sox just signed what's left of John Smoltz to a $5.5 million deal. The Yankees gave $80 million to A.J. Burnett. Derek Lowe just conned the Braves out of $60 million over four years. I mean, the Crew ain't exactly alone in the "needs starting pitching" department.
There is no disagreement that Prince Fielder is the most valuable commodity among the pieces they'd be willing to move.
And there is no question that Fielder intends to become a free agent after the 2011 season.
There is also no question that October 2011 is almost THREE FUCKING YEARS FROM NOW.
So, yes, the Brewers should avoid delaying the inevitable by trading Fielder as soon as a sensible opportunity presented itself. For example, on the off chance a pitching-rich team like Boston would be willing to give up a presentable starter, you do that and you do it now.
As far as reasons to trade Prince go, "avoiding delaying the inevitable" isn't all that high on the list.
And what, exactly, makes you think that a team like the Red Sox would be willing to trade for Fielder? Where would he play? They've got an All-Star first baseman in Youkilis, and a pretty good DH in Ortiz. But suddenly they're going to say: "You know what? We should probably move Jon Lester. Let's see if the Brewers would give up Fielder for him"?
But just because the drumbeats for moving Fielder keep getting louder as his arbitration bonanza nears doesn't necessarily mean the short-term rationalizations have grown any simpler.
Ahh, there it is. It just wouldn't be a MikeHunt column without (a) waffling and (b) incomprehensible, Dale-Hofmann-esque jibberish like this sentence. I hope this made sense when you wrote it.
Sure, the Brewers could move just about anyone to first base.
Fuck, man, they "could" do just about anything. They "could" let Sheets' Va Jay Jay play all Rush songs for three hours every game. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
But who protects Ryan Braun in the lineup? Even with his power reduction last year, Fielder still hit 34 homers and drove in 102 runs. Even if he received $8 million or so in his impending arbitration hearing, that's value the Brewers could not replace.
Then ... why should they trade him?
But wait! Jump on, kids! Let's get back on the MikeHunt roller coaster:
Yet in any high-stakes hypothetical, a tipping point is the fear of trading a player too late for return purposes against the risk of losing his production too soon. In Fielder's case, there are issues that should cause the Brewers to err on the side of the latter.
Fielder could surprise everyone next month by showing up fit at Maryvale Baseball Park. But if he cannot control his weight, he would restrict the Brewers' eventual trading partners to the American League.
What? Why would anyone in the National League trade for him now? Let's try something new, Mike: let's think through the possibilities before writing something stupid.
He's not getting traded to an NL Central team.
There's only one team in the NL West that can offer us starting pitching -- the Giants. I don't imagine they're in a hurry to trade Lincecum, and their GM has said that Cain is all but untouchable. (Which makes some sense. They'd need a pretty good reason to move a young, affordable, durable starting pitcher.)
And in the East -- the Phillies have Howard, the Mets can't offer pitching, the Marlins won't want to take on payroll, the Nats can offer ... John Lannan, and the Braves have Kotchman. Or would you like to try to trade Prince for Jair Jurrjens (who, somehow, is NOT Swedish)?
I mean, let's think about the variables here:
(1) After his dip in performance last year, combined with the alarming fact that he went vegetarian and STILL managed to put on 30-40 pounds, Prince's trade value can't be all that high right now.
(2) No one is motivated to move young, starting pitchers. And very few teams have young, affordable starting pitchers to offer in a trade.
(3) We control Prince's rights for the next three years.
Don't you at least want to give it one more year -- if not two more years -- before trying to move Fielder? Please, tell me if I'm wrong, because MikeHunt's not going to. He's just going to keep offering more reasons why we should trade Prince, oh-wait-maybe-I'm-getting-ahead-of-myself, fuck-I'm-on-deadline, just-print-this-shit-and-go.