Milwaukee Brewers fat first baseman Prince Fielder is a free agent after the 2011 season. While the Brewers surly will want Fielder back and Fielder may want to come back, just like with CC after 2008 the Brewers will not be able to afford to keep him. Fielder will be going for cash, and he can get that by testing the market and seeing who bites. There will be teams from each league interested as Fielder has reportedly said that he's willing to be a DH. With Posada likely gone after this season, Fielder to the Yankees certainly is a legitimate possibility. A big time home run hitting free agent entering free agency at a position the Yankees have an opening in? CC Sabathia has reportedly been selling the Yankees to him and I'd be surprised if the Yankees weren't at least a little bit interested.
First off, let me say that Prince Fielder is a GREAT hitter. Ever since he entered the league in 2005 the man has been a power hitting machine. He's hit at least 25 HR in every season since 2006, 30+ in every year since 2007 and he's reached 40+ twice so far in his young career. He's still in his 20s and is well on his way to another 35-40 HR season. The man is entering his prime and there is no doubt in my mind that he would be a force in the Yankees lineup if he was signed. He'd make the lineup better and be feared. I have nothing against Fielder the player and he'd probably be a big star in New York.
Now let me also make this very clear. I do not want the Yankees to sign Prince Fielder! The Yankees have Alex Rodriguez signed until the end of time who will be a DH in a few years as it is. They have a number of older veterans and also a number of players signed to huge contracts. Also, the Yankees already have one of the best offenses in the league. So Fielder while he would certainly improve the offense would be an unnecessary signing, and especially considering it's going to cost 15-20 million a year to sign him. However, I'm bringing it up because although I think it wouldn't be that smart a move, with the Yankees it's definitely a possibility and a signing as big as him would have a big effect on numerous aspects on the team. I just wanted to look at some of the ways the Yankees would be affected by signing this fat man to a big time contract.
Prince Fielder will likely sign a contract of 15-20 million a year for multiple seasons. Since the Yankees tend to overpay for everybody they go after, I'm going with 20 million on this one. Now lets look at the current top contracts for the Yankee players that are guaranteed for next season.
- Alex Rodriguez: 29 million
- Mark Teixeira: 22.5 million
- A.J. Burnett: 16.5 million
- Derek Jeter: 16 million
- Mariano Rivera: 15 million
- Curtis Granderson: 10 million
- CC Sabathia: 23 million (player option)
- Robinson Cano: 14 million (team option)
- Nick Swisher: 10.25 million (team option)
- Rafael Soriano: 11 million (player option)
Assuming all these players are Yankees next year (which is very likely), and also assuming that Sabathia opts out and makes 3-5 million more in his new Yankee contract, the Yankees have about 150-156 million dollars in payroll committed to ten players on the roster. Now imagine if they add a 20 million contract for a DH like Prince Fielder to that mix. That bumps it up to 170-176 million committed to 11 players. You'd be looking at a possible payroll north of 225 million for the 2012 Yankees if they choose to go this route. Remember, however big it may be the Yankees have a budget too. And while Fielder is a star hitter, giving him a huge contract could possibly limit the Yankees in doing other things to help their pitching or adding role players or both. And a 220 million dollar payroll is ridiculous.
This is where Prince would give the biggest boost to the Yankees, and this is where he could make it seem like the 20 million is worth it. Again, the man can freaking hit. If Fielder were the DH next year, you'd have a lineup I think similar to this.
- Derek Jeter- SS
- Curtis Granderson- CF
- Mark Teixeira- 1B
- Alex Rodriguez- 3B
- Prince Fielder- DH
- Robinson Cano- 2B
- Nick Swisher- RF
- Jesus Montero- C
- Brett Gardner- LF
Thats one hell of a lineup too. I think that Teixeira, A-Rod, Cano and Fielder could switch anywhere between the 3 and 6 holes in the lineup, but I think the way I have it is what Joe Girardi would go with. I'm going to be honest, I love the idea of having this lineup playing every single day. This team would lead the majors in runs scored, home runs, RBIs and should never have an issue scoring runs. They'd probably be the best lineup in the league anyway, but Prince would secure that for multiple years. If there's one big plus to bringing Prince Fielder in, it's this. Just look at that lineup and tell me, no matter what your opinion of bringing Fielder in is, that you don't like this lineup. You would be lying if you did.
The problem isn't 2012 though. It's beyond that. Alex Rodriguez can't defy age forever, and eventually he's going to turn into full time DH making 20 million a year. He's not going to be able to play 3B, but signing Prince is going to force him to be the everyday third baseman into his 40s. This is going to lead to an increased risk in injuries for the Centaur, less productivity offensively from him as he ages and a lesser chance in breaking the home run record that I want him to break so bad. Not only that, but it's not a sure thing that Derek Jeter is retiring after his contract ends, and he is going to need DH time as well even in his current contract. That can't happen with a star hitter like Fielder as the everyday DH. So while 2012 may not be an issue, this is an issue for a few years down the road and I'd rather the Yankees use the DH to rest A-Rod and Jeter every now and then, and eventually transition Rodriguez into the full time DH as he gets into his 40s. They'll still have a great offense, but they can keep their aging players healthy and stronger for more years. And thats very important.
Thats pretty much what you're getting with Prince. He's a great hitter who has a personality great for NY. I can tell you right now, he'd be a big star in NY. And the fat jokes we could make with him would be quite fun. But for all the moonshots he would hit as a Yankee, there are consequences to giving him a multi-year 20 million a year deal. for me, there are two major downfalls to bringing him in. He'd force aging players to continue to play the field every single day and possibly get hurt more often. He may hurt the Yankees in going after pitchers or other actual needs in the future because he and so many other Yankees take up so much payroll.
The Yankees have the best offense in baseball and will have the best offense in baseball next season anyways, with or without Prince. Teixeira can still hit. Cano is only entering his prime. Jesus Montero will rise (or he'd better). And Alex Rodriguez's career isn't over yet. This team won't have an issue scoring runs. Next season, you may be looking at a few holes on the pitching staff or the bench, and I'd rather they split up the money to get different players for those roles rather than go all out for a star hitter. And use the young guys (by that I mean Montero).
So while I love the idea of having Fielder in the Yankee lineup, it's an unnecessary use of 20 million dollars. The Yankees don't need to sign every freaking All-Star that comes on the market also. It takes the fun away from it a little bit. Let the Red Sox or anybody else break the bank for the guy. Yankees don't need him.
Call Up Jesus Montero.