I don't do the Fire Joe Morgan bit nearly as well as Rubie does, but today's column in the JS about Prince Fielder is worth taking a crack at. Gary Howard* opined that the Brewers have no choice but to sign Prince Fielder to a long-term deal ASAP. Writes Mr. Howard:
Even the name has a cool ring.
And Mr. Fielder will be able to buy all the decorative rings he wants when he signs his next contract. We're talking silver rings, gold rings, platinum rings, gaudy rings, earrings, ugly rings, toe rings, nose rings, ring dings and ring tones.
Ok, I'll give you the name thing. I wish I was cool enough to name my kid Prince. I'll just end up naming him Reid Jr. or something boring like that.
What the Milwaukee Brewers need to ask, in the meantime, is this:
Will the franchise be able to get its first World Series ring sans The Baddest Man in Miller Park History?
Not in their wildest dreams.
Hmm, I don't know. What do we get back for him in a trade? Teams have built contenders from the ransoms they get back from trading their stars. The '03 Marlins were almost entirely built on guys they got from trading off the stars of their '97 team.
So, this morning we have just two words for multimillionaire boy wonder Mark Attanasio: Sign him.
Oh, and one more: Now.
And in return, I offer more than 3 million reasons why you should find the money in the vault at the bottom of that spacious Southern California palace you and Debbie and the A-Kids call home, and then back that up with another 3 million reasons to be followed by another 3 million yet to come in the 2010 major-league baseball season.
Wait, "multimillionaire boy wonder"? That's what you're going with to describe the owner of the Brewers? That's not condescending at all. Why not just say, "Hey rich muther fucker pay for this." And I'm sure the Attanasios don't have a giant vault in the basement of their "palace". I bet it's probably more like a silo, outside of the mansion, where Mark likes to hang out and take swims in his cash like he's Scrooge McDuck. When it comes time to pay the players each week he just heads over there with a wheelbarrow and loads up the cash for 'em.
Your fans deserve the right to believe that small market doesn't mean broke; that breaking up the dynamic duo of Fielder's Batman and Ryan Braun's Robin is just the wrong move to make, even if it will cost you at least a third of your entire payroll for just two players.
It's true, the fans have been phenomenal the past few years. But list for me the franchises that have won a World Series with 1/3 of their payroll committed to just 2 players. Go ahead, hit up the interwebs and see what you can find. I'm not going to bother because I'm that damn certain the answer is ZERO. And it's going to be tough to keep drawing 3 million fans each year with Braun and Fielder and a bunch of nobodies scuffling through a season. Especially after Fielder realizes that he's not going to win a ring here, loses his drive, and becomes an overweight malcontent.
"The No. 1 goal is to keep the team on the path to the postseason every year," Attanasio said Wednesday evening. "This is a very important decision for us."
And if the future roster is to include the likes of ... Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Carlos Villanueva, Claudio Vargas, David Riske, Manny Parra, Casey McGehee, Trevor Hoffman, LaTroy Hawkins, Corey Hart, Jody Gerut, Mat Gamel, Yovani Gallardo, Alcides Escobar, Doug Davis, Todd Coffey and, let's just say, Craig Counsell (best bargain in baseball), then that will just be fine with most of your constituents, as long as the Brew Crew remains playoff worthy.
Right, that's an ok roster. A decent roster that still costs around $60MM, even with 4 players that aren't yet arbitration eligible. I exclude David Riske from my "decent roster" claim, of course. I question the sanity of anyone that is going to include David Riske and his $4MM, injury riddled ass as part of their "playoff worthy" roster.
Of course, you will have to increase your current payroll of about $80 million by at least $15 million per, but your steadfast fans have proven they will pay you right back (as will MLB, through revenue sharing) by continuing to roll through the turnstiles and hot dog lines in record numbers as they have since that wonderful stadium was built with, yes, the tax off of said working man's back.
Do they deserve to be treated to the yearly postseason hope that a Braun-Fielder one-two punch will bring over the next, say, five seasons if you make a deal?
See above. Fans are fickle, and they will turn on him in a heartbeat in that scenario.
You know the answer to that. As a die-hard baseball junkie from the South Bronx, just like me, you want to see it, too, Mark.
"A player like Prince comes along every 10 years or every 15 years," admitted Attanasio. "So you have to take advantage of it. It's a great problem to have."
So I figure a sweet, five-year, $100 million offer (even you can't afford seven, like his agent, Scott "Pay Me!" Boras, would prefer) with incentives might, just might, get 'er done. He's not the "I" in team, no; he's just the T, the E, the A and the M.
A) "Bronx Guy", you'll probably be tickled pink to see him in pinstripes in 2 year. Either that or you're terrified he'll end up in Boston (his most likely suitor IMO)
B) Where the hell did you get that 5 year, $100 million offer from? You just pulled that out of your ass because it sounds good to you. It sounds great to me too, but I'm not an exceptional pro athlete. If I were, then I'd say it sounds like a low-ball, small market, desperation offer. The Yankees gave Mark Teixeira 8 years, $180 million and he's 4 years older than Prince. You think Scott Boras is going to let his client leave $80 million on the table? Fuck no. And if you were Prince why would you even consider staying with a team that would be financially crippled by a deal half that size. (Which brings up one of my biggest gripes, when people say "What's the difference between $100 million and $150 million?" like it doesn't matter. The difference is FIFTY MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS!!!)
Mr. Fielder, in case you forgot, Mr. Attanasio, is a grounded, confident soul who shunned an early call to sign long-term for the chance at a more lucrative payday.
He did his part in 2009, ranking first in the NL in RBI (141), second in slugging (.602), Ding Dongs (46) and OPS (1.014), fourth in walks (110) and sixth in runs (103), all for a measly (by today's standards) $7 million.
And now it's time to get paid. And he will.
Um yeah, lucrative indeed. Not some imaginary number that you just came up with because it sounds good. Teixeira was coming off just as impressive a season, and he was the top free agent available. If Prince does anything close to what he did last year he will be one of, if not THE, top free agent on the market. And he's going to be paid like it. Which means this quixotic notion of home town discounts, is a pipe dream dude.
It's just that - without any inside dope on his intentions - I feel he would take a five-year deal at $20 million per to see what he could do with the Brewers. Every great baseball player wants to be the straw. And by anyone's standards, Prince is just that for this Crew but maybe not for another club, incentive enough to re-sign with Milwaukee.
BAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!!!!! Right. I don't have any "insider dope" either. But here's my feeling: Prince Fielder hired Scott Boras as his agent, that means his main concern is getting paid. And he may love Milwaukee, and he may have had a blast playing here, but he's going after the cash where ever it comes from. And he's not going to shed a single tear over bolting Brew City, so don't be stunned when it happens.
"We hope we can work something out with Prince," added the Brewers' owner. "I think he made a number of comments during our fan weekend that he loved it here in Milwaukee, so we'll go from there."
Remember, without Fielder, Braun will be walked to sleep and Attanasio will be wearing out Doug Melvin's phone in search of a body to fill out Prince's baggy baseball pants, and you know that is one monumental task.
Listen dude, I like Prince too. I wish there was a way that we would be able to keep him. But it ain't happening, and we've know this since day one. But there will be other players. We will still have Ryan Braun. Hopefully the money we don't spend on Fielder (or the players we get from trading him) can be spent on providing other pieces to put around him, the system will continue to produce capable major leaguers and Milwaukee can continue the success they've enjoyed the past few seasons. And I hope sharing your little dream-world theory with everyone today has been therapeutic for you, and maybe tomorrow you can come back and join the rest of us on Earth.
So do yourself and your constituents a huge service, Mark, and get your ashcan in the Fielder Sweepstakes.
This, like your initial investment of $220 million for the team, will pay premium dividends, my friend.
WHAT?!?!? I'm not even sure what that means. It's tough to write a ridicule piece when I'm too dumbfounded for words. Where'd you get your finance degree from again?
And you know this, Man.
And nothing says "I really know my stuff" like ending a column with a quote from Friday. Dude, 1995 called and Chris Tucker wants his bong back.
*It should be noted that I have no clue who Gary Howard is. He might be the most famous name in Milwaukee sports journalism for all I know. Or some paper pusher that just got a burr under his saddle about Prince Fielder. No idea.