Brewers moving on from Fielder?

Day by day, the Brewers are more ready to publicly discuss a future without free agent slugger Prince Fielder.

“I think we’re at a point now where we have to consider moving on,” general manager Doug Melvin said Wednesday.

The Brewers have been a long shot all along for Fielder, the former first-round Draft pick who spent the last six seasons in Milwaukee’s starting lineup and is a free agent for the first time. Since they last had serious discussions with agent Scott Boras about an extension for Fielder in the spring of 2010, the Brewers have allocated their resources to long-term deals for outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, second baseman Rickie Weeks and right-hander Yovani Gallardo, among others. With raises due those players, it is difficult to see the Brewers signing Fielder without leaving other holes on the roster.

Still, the Brewers will not close the door on Fielder until he signs with another team. They took a meeting late Tuesday with Boras at Boras’ request, and it included Milwaukee principal owner Mark Attanasio.

But Melvin downplayed the significance of that sit-down, saying Attanasio was simply in Dallas to sit-in on planning sessions during the Winter Meetings, as he does every year. The club’s contingent was at dinner when Boras called and asked whether they wanted to meet.

“They were somewhat updating us to where he’s at,” said Melvin, who said the discussion moved on to other Boras free agents.

Among the teams linked to Fielder this winter are the Cubs, Mariners and Orioles. New Cubs manager Dale Sveum is very close with Fielder and said if Chicago makes a run for him, he would participate in the sales pitch.

If Fielder leaves, the Brewers would probably use longtime prospect Mat Gamel at first base. Or, if they sign free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, then incumbent third baseman Casey McGehee could shift to first.

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