McCalvy’s Notes: Capuano, Villanueva, Fielder

3 03 2008

Sorry about the prolonged absence this weekend.  I have some news for you today, though…don’t worry.  MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy is on the prowl out in Phoenix.  Let’s see what he’s dug up for us today:

  • Chris Capuano is no longer on a losing streak!  After struggling the entire second half last season, Chris won a decision yesterday against the Angels.  The funny thing about his win is that he was the only Brewers pitcher to give up a run in the whole game.  I suppose after last year’s bad luck, Cappy will take whatever he can get.
  • Carlos Villanueva pitched extremely well yesterday against the Angels, and he attributes that to a mechanical fix that he and Mike Maddux have been working on in the past few days.  Actually, he says it was more of a rhythmic type of adjustment, rather than a full-out mechanical fix.  With less than overpowering velocity, Villanueva relies on pinpoint command and savvy on the mound to keep hitters off-balance.  He showed what he can do last September, posting an ERA under 2.00 in the final month of the season.

    Carlos looks to be an important cog in the starting rotation this season, so it is very nice to hear his confidence growing in his command and pitches.  I am excited to see what he can do now that he’s got some major league experience under his belt.  He pitched brilliantly for the majority of ’07, and I think his struggles in the second half were a reflection of his mental fatigue more than anything.  Yost relied on him so much that I think it wore Carlos down throughout the year, as he had never pitched that much in his pro career to that point.  He should rebound this year.

  • This is the most disturbing news that came out of my absence yesterday.  Prince Fielder is…less than happy, to say the least, about his contract being renewed.  When Fielder and his agent could not agree to a multi-year deal with the Brewers, Melvin and company simply renewed his contract, which is for $670,000 in ’08.  Prince sought something closer to $900,000, which is what Ryan Howard made last year with the Phillies.  Melvin countered that Milwaukee goes by a simple algorithm that has a set amount of money for each year and is based on performance-escalators.  Still, Prince is not happy and implied that he will be looking for big money next year in arbitration.

    This concerns me a little bit.  Prince is unhappy that he is not being rewarded for his spectacular play, but Melvin and the Milwaukee organization are simply using the same system they use for every other player.  Corey Hart and Ryan Braun both had their contracts renewed, but they did not complain outwardly.  Prince should be upset with the player’s union, which has a system set up that allows the major league team to exploit the young players for the first three-years of their contract, before they become arbitration-eligible.

    Why should Doug Melvin make an exception for Prince Fielder?  He would then have to for Hart, Braun, Gallardo, Villanueva, and presumably LaPorta in a few years.  Melvin would be sacrificing the team’s well-being to simply appease Fielder’s pocketbook.  Now, do not get me wrong, Prince Fielder deserves much more than $670,000 on the open market, but he does not have 3 years of major league service yet.  According to the contract and the system he signed to play under, he does not deserve any more than he is getting.  It may not be fair, but he should argue with the player’s union and not target Doug Melvin and the Brewers for something that is simply business.  Fielder and Melvin are both looking out for their own best interests, and Fielder’s time will come in about 12 months.

    This most likely eliminates any chance of negotiating a long-term contract with Prince, along with greatly hurting the chances of negotiating with him when he becomes a free agent.  This pretty much cements the fact that Milwaukee will be looking to trade Prince Fielder in a few years…probably for the Yankee’s entire farm system.

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