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Brewers not likely to part ways with Fielder


Brewers not likely to part ways with Fielder
DANA POINT, Ca. - The Brewers will not rule out a trade of first baseman Prince Fielder, but such a deal is highly unlikely for two reasons:

  • Fielder not only is the team's only left-handed hitting regular, but also their only remaining left-handed hitting position player now that Craig Counsell, Ray Durham and Russell Branyan are free agents.

  • The losses of Fielder and free-agent pitchers CC Sabathia and right-hander Ben Sheets in one offseason would be too damaging from a public-relations standpoint, particularly when the Brewers are coming off their first postseason appearance in 26 years.

    Fielder stands to make at least $7.5 million in his first year of salary arbitration, but the elimination of both Sheets' $11 million salary and the prorated portion of Sabathia's $9 million salary will create significant payroll flexibility. So would a trade of shortstop J.J. Hardy, whose salary figures rise from $2.65 million to at least $4 million in arbitration.

    Brewers officials are reluctant to trade either Hardy or his projected replacement, Alcides Escobar. One solution would be to move Hardy to second base and trade Rickie Weeks, but Hardy has more value than Weeks and possibly could bring a starting pitcher in return.

    Peavy: a three-way solution?

    The best guess on Jake Peavy is that the Padres eventually will trade him to the Braves, who appear to be the most attractive suitor of Peavy's preferred teams. But the Padres could try to expand the discussions, instructing the Cubs or another club to acquire additional prospects from a third team to help complete the trade.

    The Cubs seemingly lack the inventory to make such a deal work, but the Padres might need to turn creative if the Braves balk at their price. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti all but acknowledged that he is unlikely to acquire Peavy from a division rival, and two of Peavy's other preferred clubs — the Cardinals and Astros — are not factors in the discussions.

    Peavy has the right to veto any trade, and Padres GM Kevin Towers acknowledged that the pitcher still could be the team's Opening Day starter. Such a scenario, however, is unlikely. The Padres want to purge the remaining four years and $63 million remaining on Peavy's contract.

    Et tu, Kerry?

    While the loss of free-agent right-hander Ryan Dempster would force the Cubs to obtain another starting pitcher, the loss of free-agent closer Kerry Wood might be less of a blow.

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    Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: November 4, 2008

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