Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’

Braun on Gallardo: 'He deserves it'

Count left fielder Ryan Braun among the Brewers fans happy to see the team lock-up Yovani Gallardo on Thursday.
“I think it’s great for the city to know that we’re going to have our ace to build around for the next five years,” Braun said. 
Gallardo’s new five year contract runs through 2014 and buys out one of his would-be free agent seasons. It also includes a club option for 2015.
That puts him right in line with Braun, who signed a seven-year extension in 2008 that runs through 2015. 
“I’m excited,” Braun said. “First and foremost, I’m excited for Yovani. He deserves it, and I know that the financial security is a great thing. That’s something I can relate to. I’m excited to be with him for at least the next five years.”
It’s no secret that Braun and the rest of the Brewers would like to see another player join the long-term party. But Braun downplayed the possible impact Gallardo’s signing could have on the team’s ongoing discussion with first baseman Prince Fielder, whose situation is completely different because he is less than two years shy of free agency. 
Gallardo, for contrast, was four years shy before he signed his new contract. Braun was six years short when he inked his deal. 
“I don’t think it really relates to Prince too much,” Braun said. “But if Prince does stay on, he wants to know we’re going to have a good team, and knowing that Yovani and I are going to be here for the next five years, it should give him some peace of mind that we should at least be competitive.”
Braun knew that the team was in talks with Gallardo but didn’t learn a deal was done until it was announced on Thursday afternoon. 
His own negotiation was similarly quiet. Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo, handled talks with the Brewers with little fanfare before a deal was announced one morning in May 2008.
“It makes a lot of sense for [Gallardo] and it will make a lot of sense for the team is he continues to be this good,” Braun said. “It provides some cost certainty for them and they’ll probably save some money in the long run. 
“I do think it’s a trend. Teams have to come early, obviously, because the closer you get to free agency or arbitration, the harder it is to give up those years at what looks like a discounted price. But for players, that financial security is tough to give up. I think it makes a lot of sense for the player, and for the team you get some cost certainty but you’re also taking a risk. You have to believe in the guy and his work ethic.”
That’s why club executives speak often of only doing extensions with the “right” player. Braun is pretty sure that Gallardo falls into that group.
“They don’t get any better than him,” Braun said. “His poise, his composure, his personality. You can’t ask for more in a pitcher.”
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Fielder "discussion" to extend into season

The Brewers ongoing “discussions” with first baseman Prince Fielder about a contract extension will continue into the season, according to the team’s principal owner. But Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin both declined to say whether the Brewers had actually extended an offer to Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras. 
Attanasio, who attended his sixth Opening Day as the Brewers’ owner, spoke briefly with Fielder on Monday morning before the season opener against the Rockies at Miller Park. 
“One of the things Doug and I have said is that we were not going to give a moment-to-moment handicap of where things are at, up and down,” Attanasio said. “It would look a little bit like a stock chart. The discussions are ongoing, and most importantly, Prince is relaxed. I saw him in the clubhouse this morning. 
“What we don’t want is this to be a distraction to him. … We don’t think it’s a distraction now, which is a good thing so we can continue the conversations. We’ll see where they go.”
Fielder is under team control for the next two seasons. He will earn $10.5 million in 2010 and will be arbitration-eligible after the season. He projects to reach free agency following the 2011 season. 
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Emptying Thursday's notebook

Some final notes after a 5-3 loss to the Giants in Scottsdale…

Jeff Suppan threw fastballs and changeups in an uneventful six-up, six-down spring debut and was happy with his afternoon. He focused on spotting his fastball and keeping his change-up low in the strike zone. 
“I felt good,” he said. “My goal was to go out and get ahead. That was No. 1. No. 2, I wanted to have a good downhill plane. I felt like I accomplished that.”
Suppan had to do a double-take when Giants starter Barry Zito drilled Prince Fielder with a pitch. (You can read some more about that later on 
“I was like, ‘What?’ I had to think what happened,” Suppan said. “Then, I remembered.”
Macha called the Zito-Fielder incident a, “non-issue.”
Macha found a number of silver linings to the afternoon, and one of them didn’t show up in the box score. In Weeks’ second at-bat, he checked his swing on a Todd Wellemeyer pitch in the dirt without any complications. That was something of a big deal to Macha considering that Weeks is returning from a 2009 season mostly lost to wrist surgery. Weeks was injured on a check swing last year, Macha said. 
Ryan Braun should make his spring debut on Friday after getting Thursday afternoon off but Macha couldn’t say for sure whether shortstop Alcides Escobar would start. Escobar had two root canals on Thursday (ouch) and has another dentist appointment scheduled for next week. 
On Friday, we should be able to provide more of an injury report on third baseman Mat Gamel, who was scratched Thursday because of a sore right shoulder, and pitcher Josh Butler, who has been bumped back a bit because of his own sore right arm. 
Macha cautioned against reading too much into center fielder Carlos Gomez hitting second on Thursday. “We had problems with our two- and our five-hole last year, so we’ll give some [different] guys a chance to go out there,” Macha said. 
Speaking of the outfield, look for Jim Edmonds to get the start in center field or right field on Friday against the A’s. It’s Ben Sheets against Yovani Gallardo, whose contract was renewed Thursday, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. If you have’s gameday audio package, you can listen to the exclusive webcast at Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder will step behind the mic for the first time this year. 
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Fielder talks begin quietly

If the Brewers have begun discussions with agent Scott Boras about first baseman Prince Fielder’s contract, club officials were not willing to talk about it on Thursday.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash returned to camp on Thursday after an absence all day Wednesday. Asked specifically whether it had anything to do with Fielder, Melvin said only “we took a little trip.” 
Asked where that trip took him, Melvin said again: “We took a little trip.” Ash wouldn’t dish, either, joking to a reporter that, “we don’t have to tell you guys everything.”
Fielder himself was more forthcoming, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Brewers officials indeed met with Boras but did not make an offer. 
It made sense that the trip took place since Melvin, Ash and principal owner Mark Attanasio spent some time last week discussing how the club would approach talks with Boras, who is based in Los Angeles. Melvin has said repeatedly this spring that if and when negotiations begin, they would happen in private. 
Fielder is under contract for 2010 and has a year of arbitration eligibility remaining for 2011, but he has been a topic of internal conversation for Melvin & Co. because the Brewers have to figure out how best to handle the next two years. If the sides cannot work out an extension — Fielder, after all, has the same right to test free agency as any player — then the Brewers would have to at least consider whether it makes sense to weigh trade offers. 
The last time they faced this situation was in 2006 with left fielder Carlos Lee. When Lee’s camp turned down a four-year offer worth about $48 million, the Brewers traded him to the Rangers for a package that included closer Francisco Cordero rather than lose him via free agency and get nothing but Draft picks in return. 
The difference is that Fielder is still two years removed from free agent eligibility, and both sides have made the point that there is no rush to negotiate. 
While that business matter continues to simmer, the San Francisco Giants took care of their own business with Fielder on Thursday afternoon when Barry Zito’s first pitch to Fielder plunked him right in the middle of the back. It was almost certainly a punctuation mark to Fielder’s choreographed celebration with his teammates at home plate after his 12th-inning home run beat the Giants last Sept. 6. The Giants didn’t appreciate the show because they were still fighting for the playoffs. 
Nearly six months later, Fielder simply flipped the baseball that had struck him back in Zito’s direction and trotted to first base. Casey McGehee then struck out to end the top of the first inning. 
“I hit the home run. Hit me,” Fielder said after coming out of the game. “If that’s what you’ve got to do, then that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Fielder said he had no regrets about the September celebration. He was proud of himself for staying calm and avoiding a scene like the one that unfolded at Dodger Stadium last August, when television cameras caught Fielder charging toward the Dodgers clubhouse in search of former teammate Guillermo Mota, who had plunked him with a pitch. Mota, coincidentally, signed over the winter with the Giants.
“Every time someone does something I’m always the one videotaped. So I’m trying to be a good guy,” Fielder said. “I [don’t] want kids to see me that way so I’m trying to maintain. Unfortunately, some people like to test it sometimes. I’m working on it. I’m tired of being the bad guy. I took my base and everything was fine.”
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'Blue' tops 'White' in intrasquad game

Prince Fielder hit a long home run, but right-handed rookie Eric Arnett walked the first four batters he faced and was charged with a pair of runs as the Brewers lost to the Brewers in an intrasquad game at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday. 

Fielder homered off left-hander Chuck Lofgren in the bottom of the fourth inning in the five-inning affair, but Arnett gave those runs back in the top of the next inning. After the four walks tied the game at 1, center fielder Carlos Gomez saved Arnett with a diving catch in center field for the first out of the inning but Hernan Iribarren followed with a run-scoring groundout for a 2-1 “Blue Team” lead. With that, Arnett reached his pitch count and the inning was over. 
Brewers manager Ken Macha attributed Arnett’s command to jitters. Unofficially, it was Arnett’s first appearance in a big league uniform. 
“I remember in my first game getting jammed on a grounder to third and my heart was still beating 100 mph when I got to the locker room afterwards,” Macha said. 
Dave Bush and Manny Parra started the game and pitched two scoreless innings apiece. Fielder’s homer was nothing new, but Macha was very impressed with the two at-bats put together by nonroster outfielder Jim Edmonds. Edmonds flew out both times. 
The Brewers play their exhibition opener on Thursday afternoon at Scottsdale against the Giants. The game begins at 2 p.m. CT and will air in Wisconsin on the Brewers Radio Network. Jeff Suppan is scheduled to start for the Brewers against Barry Zito.
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Attanasio: No deadline for Fielder talks


Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said Saturday that he won’t set any “artificial deadlines” for talks with first baseman Prince Fielder about a contract extension.  
“Prince has said he wants to be here, we have said we would love to have him here and we know our fans would love to have him here,” Attanasio said. “There is no timetable, no pressure on either side. I know you guys have seen Prince and he’s pretty relaxed. I think I’m pretty relaxed. …
“No. 1, nobody wants a distraction. Frankly, I think without having any set deadlines or parameters, it better allows that because otherwise you start checking the days on the calendar and all that.”
Attanasio was at Maryvale Baseball Park for the Brewers’ first full-squad workout and delivered his annual address. Then, he huddled in general manager Doug Melvin’s office to discuss a number of topic, chief among them Fielder. 
The start first baseman is already signed for 2010 and would be arbitration-eligible — and thus under team control for one more year — in 2011. He is on track to qualify for free agency following the 2011 season. 
Both sides say they are interested in exploring whether an extension makes sense. It’s notable, though, that Fielder is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has no track record of clients signing deals that buy out free agent seasons. 
Those talks have yet to begin. Fielder said this week that he expects a dialogue to begin very soon, and Attanasio said he would return to camp to personally take part when the time is appropriate. 
“As you know, I am very process-oriented, and we are going through all of our internal processes,” Attanasio said. “As you know, Prince is very professionally represented, and I’m sure Mr. Boras is going through all of his internal processes.”
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Emptying Thursday's notebook

Some random thoughts from Thursday morning:

First baseman Prince Fielder and infielder Luis Cruz reported to camp, leaving only shortstop Alcides Escobar yet to arrive. Escobar’s flight from Venezuela was canceled on Wednesday, so he’s expect to arrive at Maryvale Baseball Park on Friday, assistant GM Gord Ash said. 
When he does arrive, manager Ken Macha intends to work him slowly into the rotation. Escobar played winter ball in Venezuela and saw much more playing time than the Brewers might have liked, hitting .393 in 45 games and 173 at-bats. 
Rehabbing reliever David Riske was scheduled to throw off a bullpen mound on Thursday, and Macha believed it was Riske’s first such workout since he reported to camp. Riske underwent Tommy John elbow surgery last June and remains a long shot to be ready for Opening Day. He threw some bullpen sessions at home in Las Vegas before reporting for Spring Training.
Something would have to go terribly wrong for the Brewers to need a backup first baseman this season, but Macha said that the job could go to outfielder Jim Edmonds, assuming Edmonds makes the roster. Edmonds, one of baseball’s best center fielders in the past two decades, has appeared at first in 51 Major League games over eight different seasons. 
“Willie [Randolph, Milwaukee’s infield coach] had him over there the other day and he was picking it pretty good,” Macha said. 
Fielder was the only player in the Majors who appeared in all of his team’s games last season. He started all 162 games and played all but four innings. Casey McGehee backed him up. 
Macha told reporters that he’s working to improve his personal relationships with players this spring. He’s always had an open door policy, but realizes that sometimes it’s best to invite a player to walk through that door. 
“Am I going to change? Well, we’re working on it,” Macha said. 
One player took advantage of the open door on Thursday. After checking out his locker in the clubhouse, Fielder went straight for the manager’s office. 
“He had a big smile on his face,” Macha said. “He’s ready.”
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The Fielder factor

fielder.jpgThe Brewers lost their arbitration hearing with Corey Hart this week, but one former club official said that, in a roundabout way, they may have also won. 

The thinking is that by taking Hart all the way to a hearing, the Brewers showed that they were not afraid of the process if they believed strongly in their filing number. It had been 12 years since the club had proven so, when then-negotiator Tom Gausden went into a hearing against Jose Mercedes. That was nearly five years before Doug Melvin took over as Milwaukee’s general manager. 
“What you do one year always affects the next,” Gausden said. “Maybe you want the agents to realize that you aren’t bluffing, that they had better file a realistic number.” 
And it just so happens that the Brewers could face a monster of a hearing next year with first baseman Prince Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras. Assuming the sides cannot work out a contract extension, Fielder would be arbitration-eligible one last time before he hits the free agent market following the 2011 season. 
The Brewers also have a couple of key first-time eligibles next year in pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. Gallardo in particular is likely to get a very substantial raise. 
Gausden, the former Brewers vice president who argued arbitration hearings with Mercedes in 1998 and Mike Fetters in 1994, said that part of the strategy is picking your battles every few years. Otherwise, agents know which teams shy away from hearings and file salary proposals artificially high, to drive up the midpoint in anticipation of a settlement. 
So, the Brewers will pay Hart $650,000 more than it wanted to in 2010, but could have left themselves positioned to save some payroll dollars in the future. Yet another layer to a very complex process. 
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Braun doesn't expect Fielder extension


Ryan Braun is rooting for Prince Fielder to sign a longterm extension with the Brewers. Braun, after all, is under contract through 2015 and has the luxury of hitting in front of Fielder in the lineup. 
But Braun is not holding his breath.
“He’s going to do whatever is in his best interests, whatever is best for his family,” Braun said. “He’s earned the opportunity to go out there and see what free agency is like, see who’s interested and how much they are willing to pay.
“Obviously, I want him here. But it’s a business and I just want what’s best for him. I think everybody recognizes the circumstances and the situation that he’s in and that the team is in. To me, it’s going to come down to what’s best for his family. He’s close enough to free agency that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to sign a deal at this point. You have to be [realistic].”
Fielder talked to reporters on Sunday for the first time since the end of the season and his contract was a major topic of discussion. You can read more about it here
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Fielder working to keep off the weight

Prince Fielder’s comments about his contract were the lead item from Sunday’s “On Deck” event, but he also talked to reporters about his offseason regimen to control his weight. 
Fielder moved his family into a new house this winter in Windermere, Fla., the upscale hamlet near Orlando made infamous in recent months because it’s also the home of Tiger Woods. With all of the commotion, Fielder has mostly stayed in, playing with young sons Jaden and Haven and staying in shape. Fielder’s new home is outfitted with a pool, a gym — “A little miniature-Ballys,” he said — and an indoor batting cage. He’s working to maintain his playing weight from last season, “or maybe to get a little better.” 
“I have to work out or I’d be huge,” Fielder said. “That’s not an option for me. … I don’t want to turn into an obese person, because I can.” 
He likes the Brewers’ offseason moves to far, and Sunday’s “On Deck” event gave Fielder a chance to catch up with newcomers like Randy Wolf, LaTroy Hawkins and Gregg Zaun. His contract could be a major issue swirling around the Brewers as they gather at Maryvale Baseball Park for Spring Training, but Fielder is much more interested to focus on baseball. 
“I’m just looking forward to having a better year as far as the team,” he said. “Whatever happens after that is cool. As long as we improve, I’m happy.”
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