Braun and Fielder to get long-term contracts?

25 03 2008

Tom Haudricourt reports that the Milwaukee Brewers are targeting Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder for long-term contracts that will buy out their arbitration years.  Doug Melvin has been saying this would be a possibility for about a month now.  Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, said that there have been general talks, but nothing too serious.

Unfortunately, I think it is a little too late for Prince.  Scott Boras would much rather take Prince year-to-year and let him break the bank.  The only hope Brewers friends have to sign Prince is if Prince really wants to stay in Milwaukee.  Doug Melvin would be better served to take Prince for the few years he has left on his contract.  After that, someone like Matt LaPorta or Mat Gamels could take his spot, and the Brewers could charge someone the farm to trade for Prince.  I know it’s not the best PR move for the Brewers, but it would be best for the team’s future.  In my opinion, it would be far better for the Brewers to sign Corey Hart to a long-term contract, and let Prince ride year-to-year.  Corey would cost less and is less of an injury risk…even though Prince is looking to curb that through his vegetarian diet.

Ryan Braun, on the other hand, could be a great team-friendly deal because he will not be arbitration-eligible until 2010.  This would allow the contract to benefit Ryan for the first couple years, but save the team money down the road.  Prince has past that threshold in my opinion, as he will be arbitration-eligible next season.  Ryan has shown that he’s an absolute stud.  The Brewers would be prudent to sign Ryan to a long-term deal before the deal would get non “team-friendly.”

The Brewers need to avoid the good-PR moves just appease the fans (see Jeff Suppan).  The Brewers cannot sacrifice the team’s future by making a move that will not be “team-friendly.”  Prince will help the team for the next three or four years, and then help the team even more by replenishing the farm system.  Like I said, it will not be popular, but they would be better off signing a different player.

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