Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Getting to know the Brewers

By Matt Snyder

TEAM MVP

Making the trade for Zack Greinke was big for the Brewers, but it didn't necessarily mean Greinke himself automatically became the most valuable player for the Brewers. It allowed Yovani Gallardo to move down to the two-slot in the rotation and -- when teamed with the acquisition of Shaun Marcum -- slotted Randy Wolf as the No. 4. That whole chain of events is huge. In terms of the position players, Prince Fielder is a monster bat in the middle of the order, but the heart and soul of the Brewers is Ryan Braun. The 27 year old rarely misses games or makes errors in the outfield. He's a clubhouse leader and is underpaid, comparing him to other perennial All-Stars, but content to stay with the Brewers and concentrate on winning. Oh, he also has a career 140 OPS-plus, which is outstanding, and steals 16 bases a year. For these reasons and many more, the MVP of the Brewers is easily Braun.

PLAYER ORACLE -- Teddy Higuera to Zack Greinke

Teddy Higuera played with Paul Molitor on the 1985 Milwaukee Brewers

Paul Molitor played with Denny Hocking on the 1998 Minnesota Twins

Denny Hocking played with Zack Greinke on the 2005 Kansas City Royals

POP CULTURE

In 2007, J.J. Hardy, Chris Capuano, Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan appeared on an episode of the "Young and the Restless." At the time the Brewers were in first place and the woman in the clip plays a rather enthusiastic fan of the four players. A few of the highlights she mentions were a stretch (Capuano as one of the best left-handed starters in the league? Really?), so maybe it's no surprise none of the four are still in Milwaukee. Seriously, weren't Braun and Fielder available?



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Posted on: March 1, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 10:21 am
 

Pepper: Finding Mauer in Montero


Posted by Matt Snyder


In the latest Ear on Baseball podcast , C. Trent Rosecrans and I had Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein on, and among other things we discussed how Yankees star catching prospect Jesus Montero may eventually be ticketed for a position change.

Interestingly, in a Tuesday morning Bats blog (via New York Times ), there's a piece on Joe Mauer discussing similarities between the two catchers and how he believes Montero should do everything he can to remain a catcher, if that's what he wants to do.

"Too big. Not quick enough. I heard everything under the sun," Mauer said. He's 6-foot-5, while Montero is 6-foot-4.

Mauer also encouraged Montero to learn everything he can from veteran catchers Russell Martin and Jorge Posada in camp, and to learn everything about the pitchers he might be catching.

Montero, 21, is generally considered one of the top prospects as a hitter, but many scouts believe he'll be inadequate behind the plate in the bigs. Mauer believes he heard the same, but I think there's a difference. Most scouts knew Mauer could handle duties behind the plate, if memory serves correctly, it's just that many believe he needs to move away from behind the plate eventually in order to lengthen his career. He's too good a hitter to physically fall apart by his early 30s. That doesn't mean he's a bad defender.

CARLOS AT THE BAT: Yes, Cubs manager Mike Quade will use pitcher Carlos Zambrano as a pinch-hitter when the game dictates this season. While his actual skill with the stick pales in comparison to the sheer entertainment value of an at-bat, he can swing it. He has three Silver Sluggers and 21 career home runs to go with a .236 average and .631 OPS. Obviously that's pretty bad for an actual hitter, but if you're looking for someone to extend the bench, he's serviceable enough. In fact, he's hit at least .300 in a season twice, as recently as 2008 -- when he hit .337 with an .892 OPS. He was a better hitter than Derrek Lee that year. Seriously. (Chicago Tribune )

ZITO VS. PRINCE, PART II:
Last season, Barry Zito and Prince Fielder had a slight flare-up in spring training after Zito plunked the portly first baseman -- in retaliation for a Fielder celebration in 2009. Monday, the two had a spat ... over a walk? Really, guys? They were seen jawing at each other, but fortunately both took the high road after the game. Zito said he asked Fielder how his offseason went and how his family was doing. Fielder said they were discussing dinner plans. Boys will be boys, even when it's not yet summer, so there's no reason to make a mountain out of a molehill. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel )

OBLIGATORY YOUNG UPDATE: Michael Young is not unhappy, nor is he dogging it in spring training. In fact, he's working just as hard as he ever has and made the first appearance of his life at first base Monday. He even accepts the addition of Mike Napoli, who is expected to steal plenty of at-bats from Young at DH this season. "He was a thorn in our side when he was in Anaheim. He can hit for power," Young said. "I think what he’s done in his career speaks for itself. When he got here in camp I think we’ve all been impressed with just how good a teammate he seems. That’s the kind of thing guys look at first. He seems a really good guy. Seems like he’s fit in really well since Day 1 and I’m excited that he’s here." (ESPN Dallas )

SCHLERETH INJURED: Tigers relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth injured his hamstring Monday. He actually felt a pop, but early the prognosis sounds positive, as the medical staff reportedly told the lefty it was a strain and not a tear -- which would cause him to miss significant time. Instead, it seems only a minor setback. In fact, he's more annoyed with the injury than anything else. "This is stupid," he said. "This isn't important. I'm not too worried about it. I just want to play. I want to make the team." (Detroit Free-Press )

TIME MACHINE: Mark Prior threw a perfect inning. In 2011. Granted, it was a single inning early in spring training, but it had to have been an encouraging outing for a man whose career was prematurely derailed years ago by injuries. For the optimistic out there, he's still only 30. There's time. (Star-Ledger )

WHO NEEDS OBP? The Rockies are ready to use catcher Chris Iannetta in the eight-hole this season. When you look at his batting average (.234) last season it makes sense. When you look at his OBP, it doesn't. His .353 career OBP is better than teammates Seth Smith, Ian Stewart, Dexter Fowler and Ty Wigginton. But his batting average is lower. It still amazes me how hard this concept is to grasp for so many. It astounds me that people look at batting average before OBP. Think about it in reverse. On-base percentage is a measure of how many times you don't get out. Isn't that the actual goal when you step in the batter's box? In this specific case, you could argue Fowler and Stewart are still young and could get better, but Iannetta's 27 and has torn up minor-league pitching for years. And when he takes a ton of walks this season with the pitcher on deck, his batting average won't be near as high as his OBP. Serenity now. (Denver Post )

SOLID INTERVIEW:
Another thing we discussed in the Ear on Baseball podcast was how incredibly loaded the Royals' minor league system is. General manager Dayton Moore sat down with John Sickels of Minor League Ball for an interview. I'm not going to bother to summarize or cut it down at all, just click through. The whole thing is worth a look. And while I'm not a fan of the Royals or anything, it's worth noting I'd like to see everything come to fruition with this group. It's been a long time since the Royals were a serious contender, so a little change there wouldn't hurt anything. Now, about those Pirates ...

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Bunting fit for a Prince


Posted by Matt Snyder


For years we've seen teams shift their defense greatly toward the right side of the infield for left-handed sluggers like Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Jim Thome and Prince Fielder. Just as often, you'll hear someone -- be it a fan, blogger or announcer -- mention the hitter at bat should drop a bunt down the third base line. If placed properly, it should be an easy base hit. Yet we rarely see the sluggers actually try it.

This year could be different for Fielder. In fact, he successfully did it Sunday during an intrasquad game.

"They've always encouraged it, I've always been a little stubborn," Fielder told MLB.com. "I've given it a half [hearted] try, maybe. Not that I'm going to be [former big league speedster] Brett Butler, but why not? ... Especially against a tough pitcher. When you have a tough pitcher on the mound, and you have a shift, and you smoke a ball to the right side, you get defeated at times. If I can help the team, I might try [bunting] a couple of times."

The 26 year old also noted he's been getting help on his bunting from speedster Carlos Gomez. (MLB.com )

EXTENDED POWER OUTAGE:
James Loney hit 15 homers in 344 at-bats in 2007. Since he took over as the everyday first baseman for the Dodgers, however, his home run power has disappeared. In the three following seasons, he's hit 36 home runs in 1,759 at-bats, and never more than 13 in a season. He actually regressed back to 10 last season. The Los Angeles Times notes manager Don Mattingley is not going to push Loney to hit more longballs, but Loney himself wants to. He's even slightly altered his swing and put in some extra work with hitting coach Jeff Pentland in order to increase his power. (LA Times )

HE'S BACK ... AGAIN: Josh Beckett was good in 2005, bad in 2006, outstanding in 2007, mediocre in 2008, great in 2009 and awful last season. So, if the pattern is to be followed, we're looking at a lights-out season from the 30 year old -- yes, he's still only 30, though it feels like he's been around forever. Early reports from spring training show Beckett as being determined as ever this season. It's a pretty good bet he's going to have a great year. (MLB.com )

CONFLICTING REPORTS: Adrian Beltre has gone down with a calf injury. Early indications were that he would miss around two weeks, but then there were some reports saying it would be much longer than that, even up to month -- which would have put the start of the regular season in jeopardy. Those reports are false, he says. The third baseman also said he'd be playing through the pain if it was the regular season. (Star-Telegram )

THREE HOLE: Adam Dunn has prodominantly hit fourth or fifth in his major league career. Over 4,000 of his roughly 6,000 plate appearances from come from those two spots. He's only garnered 689 at-bats from the three spot, but that is where Ozzie Guillen will be hitting him for the White Sox. Here's why I like it: Dunn is one of the most consistent power hitters in baseball. He's hit at least 38 home runs in each of the past seven seasons. People may have been reluctant to hit him third in the past due to his high number of strikeouts or low batting average, but his OBP over those past seven seasons is .381. He's patient enough to take pitches, and with a cleanup hitter behind him, there won't be tons of bad ones to avoid. In a launching pad like U.S. Cellular Field, that's huge. Look for him to challenge his career high (46) in bombs. (Chicago Sun-Times )

ZOOMIN' AGAIN: Joel Zumaya has had a rough time keeping his dynamic throwing arm healthy, including last season when a fractured elbow ended everything in late June. He was able to throw a scoreless inning Sunday and says he feels "great." That's music to the ears of baseball fans everywhere, because it's quite exciting to see Zumaya light up the radar gun and incredibly sickening to see how often his arm cries uncle. Hopefully that doesn't happen again anytime soon. (Detroit Free Press )

VALENTINE'S DAY: We all know the Mets (and Dodgers, but that's a different conversation) ownership situation is a mess. In a bit of a surprise, former manager Bobby Valentine is reportedly looking into buying a stake of the Mets. The team is looking to sell up to a quarter of the ownership, so Valentine's stake would certainly not be a majority, but it would still be quite the popular move among Mets fans -- many of whom still love the man. (ESPN New York )

ARIZONA COVETS YOUNG: Michael Young has not withdrawn his request to be traded, but he's not talking about it either. So it's still a possibility the Rangers retain his services -- especially if the spring injury to Beltre is an eye-opener as to Young's value. But there are still a few teams after the All-Star. The Rockies, Dodgers and Marlins have previously shown interest and we can now add the Diamondbacks to the mix. Young would be a good fit there, as the DBacks only have Melvin Mora at the hot corner. Of course, the Backs would need some financial help and Young's OK to get the deal done. (FOXSports )

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Posted on: February 20, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Fielder not worried about contract

FielderPrince Fielder is refusing to talk about his contract situation as he enters his final season before free agency.

Long thought to leave Milwaukee after rejecting a five-year, $100 million extension prior to the 2010 season, Fielder isn't interested in a year-long saga.

"I don't know how to do all that [business] stuff," Fielder told MLB.com. "I'm playing baseball."

That's good, as Fielder "struggled" last year, hitting .261/.401/.471 with 32 homers and 83 RBI. Numbers many would kill to have, but that pales in comparison to Fielder's career line of .279/.385/.535 with an average of 37 homers and 104 RBI a season. Fielder had been coming off a .299/.412/.602 year with 46 HR and 141 RBI, so the dropoff was striking. But not to Fielder.

"I wouldn't call [the experience in 2010] adversity," he said. "I just played baseball, and I don't see it as that dramatic. [Pitchers] aren't going to just throw it down the middle.

"I was just trying to contribute as much as I could to win, and I got anxious. That's just how I am. I just want to win, and sometimes I get a little overanxious. But once I kind of realized what was going on and helped win by trying to score runs and having good baserunning, getting on base, that helped more than me trying to swing and making outs for no reason."

It's rather interesting that Fielder feels he was making outs on bad pitches, noting he got "tired of it" and started looking for a different way to approach at-bats. Over the last two years, Fielder has 224 walks, which leads the league (No. 2: Albert Pujols, 218) and fantastic for someone playing at ages 25-26.p>According to Fangraphs, Fielder swung at 28.3 percent of pitchez outside the zone, making contact with 60.1 percent of them. Last season, in what is Fielder's best season to date, he offered at 25.5 percent, connecting on 58.8 percent. Fielder's hacking at outside pitches was at a career high if you throw out his 62-plate appearance season in 2005, but he also posted a career-best contact rate. However, going after pitches outside the strike zone rarely works out unless your name is Vladimir Guerrero.

But hey, the Brewers will certainly take any improvement from Fielder. And one thing seems for certain: the portly slugger won't be worried about his contract.

"Especially this year because we have a good team," Fielder said. "I'm just focused on winning. It's easy to block things out when you have a good team and you know you have a chance to win."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 5:38 pm
 

Orioles discussing Prince Fielder deal

Fielder The Prince Fielder to Dodgers trade rumor Monday didn't have much to it, and the White Sox moved on from Fielder by signing Adam Dunn.

That doesn't mean there isn't anything happening with Fielder, however. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reveals the club is talking to Milwaukee about Fielder. It's only the beginning stages of discussion and may not even advance to the intermediate stages, but the talks are there.

The Brewers, obviously, want a pitcher in return for Fielder, and he's gotta be young. It's hard to fathom Baltimore giving up Brian Matusz, but could Chris Tillman be a possibility? There was some scuttlebutt that Tillman was headed to Arizona for Mark Reynolds, but that didn't turn into anything. The point was made, though: while Tillman still has oodles of potential, he's not of the untouchable variety.

For the Orioles to give up someone like Tillman or prospect Zach Britton, however, Baltimore would want a contract signed with Fielder. The slugger is in his final year of arbitration and rejected a $100 million contract from Milwaukee previously, so the Orioles would have to be prepared to bring it.

UPDATE : The Dodgers, White Sox and Rangers are three other teams that have called on Fielder. At this point, the Brewers are trying to gauge the market before moving forward.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 6:15 pm
 

Dodgers, Brewers discussing Prince Fielder trade

Fielder Just a few hours ago, MLB Facts and Rumors relayed that James Loney was not going to be traded .

Well, not so fast. At these Winter Meetings, things tend to change on a dime and now the Dodgers may have found a suitor for Loney in the Brewers.

Yep, the Brewers have Prince Fielder blocking the way, so Loney wouldn't make sense unless Fielder was traded and that's exactly what might happen as ESPN L.A. 's Tony Jackson reports.

The fact the Dodgers would deal Broxton is unsurprising as CBSSports.com's Scott Miller wrote on the Dodgers listening on deals for Broxton earlier Monday. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports throws cold water on the rumor, saying the two sides haven't even discussed such a deal at the Winter Meetings (yet?).

The deal would have Loney along with closer Jonathan Broxton headed to Milwaukee for Fielder. That would certainly give the Dodgers the thump they need in the middle of the order, but is this really a deal Milwaukee would do?

While Loney would be an acceptable replacement for Fielder, the inclusion of Broxton is curious as the Brewers saw John Axford emerge to be the club's new closer.

Why, then, bring in someone who lost his closer's job near the end of the season and is due $7 million in 2011 before becoming a free agent?

The Brewers dealing someone of Fielder's stature for a player at a position they don't need and who is pricey himself doesn't quite make sense... unless the trade market is so bereft of offers for Fielder that the Brewers will take anything to deal the portly righty. That's possible, but it's usually not a good idea to make those type of deals.

There's also nothing wrong with putting two quality arms at the back of the bullpen, but many teams (the Diamondbacks, Marlins and Red Sox, to name three) seem to be placing an emphasis on building a quality bullpen. That's always a noble goal, but this year it seems more teams are willing to take risks. Is that a good idea when building a bullpen is so volatile?

UPDATE : The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt joins Rosenthal in refuting the rumor and the Dodgers publicly denounced the rumor, saying there has been no discussion on Fielder.

File this one under debunked rumors.

UPDATE : While this may not have made much sense from the Brewers' end, the Dodgers seem to really value Loney as MLB.com reports. The Nationals inquired into Loney and was told it would take shortstop Ian Desmond and starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. To no one's surprise, Washington has moved on.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 7:15 pm
 

Brewers figure to hang onto Fielder

Fielder The Brewers are leaning towards keeping Prince Fielder around, as SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Fielder has been the subject of trade speculation , as the slugger has one more year of arbitration left before hitting free agency. He's priced himself out of Milwaukee's market, which is why trade rumors swirl.

However, Heyman says that new manager Ron Roenicke wants Fielder, so the club will at least go into the season with the first baseman in the fold.

That means the Brewers will have to upgrade their pitching elsewhere and may risk losing Fielder to injury or free agency if no trades interest them at the deadline should they fall out of the race.

It's a lot of risk, especially given that draft-pick compensation may be done with after the year -- it is expected to be a point in negotiations for a new labor agreement, as the current one expires after 2011.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:00 am
 

Brewers shopping Braun?

Ryan Braun While Prince Fielder is the Brewer most expect to be traded this offseason, MLB.com's Peter Gammons tells NESN's Red Sox Hot Stove Live that Milwaukee may shop Ryan Braun, and if so, the Red Sox would be very interested.

Braun hit .304/.386/.501 with 25 home runs in 2010, similar to his four-year career numbers of .307/.364/.554. He's signed through 2015. He'll make just $4 million in 2012.

If the Brewers do deal him, they'd likely be seeking a king's ransom for such a productive, young (27 next week) player under contract for several more years.

Gammons said the Red Sox aren't likely a match for Fielder, because agent Scott Boras has said any team looking to sign his client to an extension will be looking for a Mark Teixeira-like contract.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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