In a story late tonight about Ryan Howard’s contract extension with the Phillies, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale wrote that there are no ongoing negotiations with three other first baseman on track to reach free agency following the 2011 season: Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and the Brewers’ own Prince Fielder.
I ran that characterization past Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who declined to comment. That’s in keeping with Melvin’s policy of not commenting publicly on what club officials have termed “discussions” with Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras.
Boras told the newspaper that, “There’s a small list of sluggers in this game who can hit 40 homers and drive in 130 annually. Now, there’s one less available.”
Elsewhere around baseball on Monday, the Phillies and slugger Ryan Howard agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract extension
through 2016. So cross Howard off the list of top-flight first basemen on track to reach free agency after the 2011 season — the Brewers’ Fielder, the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez are still among them — and cross the Phillies off the list of potential big-market suitors for said first basemen.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been adamant about keeping his conversations with agent Scott Boras about Fielder a secret, and things have been equally quiet from the other side but for one SI.com story earlier this month speculating that Fielder could seek a contract above the $200 million threshold.
It’s notable that Howard, 30, is about 4 1/2 years older than Fielder, who will be 26 on May 9. Howard is due $19 million this season and $20 million in 2011 under his previous contract, and the new deal will pay $20 million in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million from 2014-16 with a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout. So, if you add everything up, Howard is getting $164 million over the next seven years (including this one) or $177 million over the next eight.
Once again, we’ll add this disclaimer: Fielder will be arbitration-eligible one last time at the end of the 2010 season, meaning he is under Brewers control through the end of 2011.
Assuming the talks with Fielder are still ongoing, how do you think the Howard deal will influence them?