Something ‘Brewin’ with Fielder??

By Adam McCalvy
Updated: April 6, 2010
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers’ ongoing discussions with first baseman Prince Fielder about a contract extension will continue into the season, principal owner Mark Attanasio said Monday.
But Attanasio and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin both declined to say whether the club 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.”

Attanasio declined to say where they currently stand. So did Melvin. “I’m not saying we have [made a formal offer] or we haven’t,” Melvin said.

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.

That makes Fielder’s discussion different, Melvin stressed again Monday, than the Twins’ talks with catcher Joe Mauer. Those sides settled on an eight-year, $184 million contract last month.

Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash traveled to Los Angeles in February to meet in person with Boras, but both sides have been quiet about discussions — Attanasio prefers that description over “negotiations” — since then.

Fielder spoke several times about his contractual situation over the winter, but in recent weeks he has begun deflecting all questions to Boras. Boras has not returned several telephone messages from regarding Fielder.

Attanasio understands all of the interest. “Prince is a great player and he and Ryan [Braun, who is under contract through 2015] have become the face of our team,” Attanasio said.

“The guy hit 46 home runs and drove in [141] runs last year, so, sure, I can see why everybody is interested. Doug and I are interested, too.

“Nevertheless, it’s very complex when you start to talk about $100 million-type [contracts]. Whatever the number above $100 million it is, it’s nine figures. Those are necessarily complex transactions, and they don’t get done with a quick conversation and a handshake.”

“There are a lot of elements to them, and frankly, everything has to line up for them to work. There is a mutual intent on both sides to make it work.”

Count Attanasio among Brewers’ fans hoping for a happy ending. “I think it’s great that fans can latch on to home-grown stars,” he said.