By Dave Wischnowsky–
(CBS) Prince Fielder is only 27 years old, currently tied for the NL lead in RBI and was just christened as MVP of the 2011 All-Star Game.
He’s also a free agent-to-be, wants a megabucks deal and measures in at 5-foot-11, 275 pounds.
Give or take an inch.
And, perhaps, a couple dozen pounds.
On Tuesday night, after the Brewers’ portly powerhouse belted the three-run homer that ultimately won the 82nd Annual All-Star Game for the National League, my buddy Jeff shot me a text message that read: “Fielder would look good in a Cubs jersey.”
To which I responded: “No doubt. Only question is how tight that jersey will be in a few years.”
And it was with that exchange that my thoughts were brought back to April when I wrote a blog entry asking the question, “Is The Weight Worth It For Prince Fielder?”
Last month, the Brewers slugger told reporters that he wouldn’t rule out Wrigley Field as a potential landing spot in 2012. And with Cubs fans already starting to talk about that notorious “Next Year,” I figured today would be a good time to revisit the topic.
And to ask you to weigh in on Prince.
Back in April, I wrote the about Fielder that, “The guy can flat-out hit. But, it’s the slugger’s body that has me concerned. Because, it’s just highly unlikely that Fielder will age well as his mileage adds up. Consider this: Despite supposedly becoming a vegetarian back in 2008, Fielder has still managed to gain five pounds.”
Along those same (waist) lines, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports last summer wrote the following about Milwaukee’s keg-shaped Brewer: “It’s still difficult for scouts to get past Fielder’s body. He is fat. He is indeed quite fat. Listed at 5-foot-11 (probably an inch shorter in reality) and 270 pounds (probably a few more than that, too), Fielder is an original.
“No player in Baseball-Reference.com’s database dating to 1901 carried so many pounds on such a squat body. Thus, finding a comparable player for aging purposes becomes a particularly trying task.”
In lieu of a true peer, Passan went on to consider Fielder’s bloodlines and compared him to his heavyweight father, Cecil, who was listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds – downright svelte compared to Prince – and saw his production decline dramatically as his years added up.
At the ages of 26 and 27, Cecil put together back-to-back MVP runner-up seasons and then kept running strong for a couple more years until he turned 30. After that season, however, “Cecil turned in seasons of 11, 8 and 1 percent better than the league-average OPS,” wrote Passan, “At 34, he was terrible. Fielder never played again.”
This spring, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs are considered a potential landing spot for Prince next season and that he is said to be seeking an eight-year deal worth a princely sum of $180 to $200 million that will most likely put him out of Milwaukee’s price range.
However, last month, the Sun-Times reported that Fielder’s rumored price tag could put him beyond the Cubs’ budget, too. Crediting “a source with first-hand knowledge of the Ricketts family’s purchase deal and debt structure” the newspaper wrote that the deal “involves enough annual burden to all but preclude that kind of free-agent deal for two or three years.”
With fan interest waning and anger escalating at Wrigley Field, I don’t really think the Cubs can afford to wait two or three years to make a splash. They need one now.
And while I still think that Fielder’s weight should give serious pause to any team considering offering him a multi-year deal, there’s little doubt about one thing.
When it comes to making a splash, nobody does a cannonball quite like Prince.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.