Recently, I have heard numerous reports stating that the Brewers would be open to trading Prince Fielder this offseason. My response to that statement is, why not? I believe in the thinking that no player in untouchable. You could say that this is the case for Ryan Braun, but if the Giants offered Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Braun would be traded. So what could the Brewers get in return for Prince Fielder?
The main team that I have heard is the San Francisco Giants. Currently, Travis Ishikawa is the everyday first baseman for the Giants. He is one of the least productive first basemen in baseball. A trade for Fielder would help solidify an offense that ranks near the bottom in every offensive category in baseball.
The Giants also have the pieces to get a trade done. The first rumor that I heard was Prince Fielder for Matt Cain. Cain is a great pitcher and will get some votes for this years Cy Young award. Cain would be an interesting option, but something I think the Brewers should avoid. The other package that is being thrown out there is Fielder for the Giants top two prospects. Those prospects are Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. This is the trade, if offered, the Brewers should jump at.
Both prospects have dominated the minor leagues. Buster Posey is the top ranked catching prospect (now that Matt Wieters is in the major leagues), and Bumgarner is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
What makes Posey so valuable is the position he is able to play. Posey, 22, is a catcher that has an ability to hit. He is currently blocked in San Francisco by Bengie Molina. Molina is a free agent in the offseason, but the Giants have expressed interest in retaining his services. Molina has always hit decently for power, but his on base percentage is awful. He currently carries a .283 OBP and hits cleanup everyday. Maybe that's the reason the Giants are so offensively challenged.
Anyway, back to Posey. This season, between A-AAA, Posey hit .325 in 422 at bats. His OBP was an amazing .416, while boasting a .531 slugging percentage. That equates to an OPS of .974 out of, let me repeated, a catcher. That kind of production in Milwaukee out of the backstop would be unbelievable.
The other prospect in this proposed deal would be Bumgarner. Bumgarner, 20, is something that the Brewers are severely lacking. He is a young, developed starting pitcher. In his first two seasons of pro ball, Bumgarner has been amazing. He is 27-5 with a 1.65 ERA. He has struck out 256 batters in 273 innings, while only walking 55. A rotation that contains Bumgarner and Gallardo just gets me giddy with excitement.
The best thing about these two players is how long they are controlled for. Bumgarner and Posey were just called up for the first time. That means that they have another five seasons before they hit free agency. Fielder is controlled through 2011, but is unlikely to remain in Milwaukee past then. A team like Milwaukee is not able to let him walk without receiving compensation. A Bumgarner/Posey package would put this franchise in good shape for many seasons to come.
Losing Fielder would hurt the offensive production in 2010, but it wouldn't demolish the offense. A first baseman who can hit can be found. Just look at what the Seattle Mariners were able to get for $1 million this offseason with Russell Branyan. First baseman can be replaced, but stud prospects like Bumgarner and Posey only come around so often.
This trade just seems to make so much sense for both teams. The Giants would be getting a great hitter to shore up their lackluster offense, and the Brewers would get a young catcher and starting pitcher (two things this franchise needs). The Giants have the money to sign Fielder past 2011. The Brewers don't have this great fortune, so trading him now, rather than waiting makes sense. If they wait until next year, the chips coming back will be substantially less.
Prince Fielder is one of my favorite players. He is an amazing hitter. What he has done this season is truly remarkable, but this trade would be too much to pass up. No matter how much I like Fielder, two years of his service is not worth what the Giants are reported willing to part with. I would love to see him back as a Brewer next season, but if this trade happens, the Brewers are set for the future. Either way, strap in Brewers fans, this is going to be one exciting offseason.