“It’s cool,” Prince Fielder said Tuesday of his $15.5 million payday. He knows the next one is going to be even better.
Fielder’s one-year contract for 2011 set a Brewers record for a single-season payout, and will take the slugging first baseman right to the brink of free agency. He figures to be on the top players on the market next winter and will seek a multi-year deal well into nine-figure territory.
“Of course you think about that,” Fielder said. “That’s just a big part of your career, when you sign a long-term deal. That’s a big deal, so of course you think about it.
“But the thing right now is I’m enjoying being signed for this year and I’m getting ready for spring.”
Even a few months ago, it seemed unlikely that Fielder and the Brewers would be together for 2011. Considering Fielder’s looming free agency, the lack of progress in talks about a contract extension and the Brewers’ dire need for pitching, you had to wonder whether the team would be forced to trade its star first baseman. Brewers fans gave Fielder what felt like a parting ovation during the 2010 home finale.
Instead, general manager Doug Melvin was able to acquire Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays and Zack Greinke from the Royals without parting with Fielder. Now, the Brewers are poised to contend in 2011.
“Like I always said, I was expecting to still be playing with the Brewers,” Fielder said. “I’m still under contract with them, I wasn’t a free agent or anything, and all offseason I was expecting to come back to them.”
With Tuesday’s business accomplished, he can do just that.
“I’m very happy we were able to get the deal done and now all of that’s taken care of,” Fielder said. “I really wasn’t thinking of all the scenarios too much. I’m just happy it’s done now and I can go play baseball.”