Wisch: Fielder As A Cub – Can You Handle The Weight?

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.

wisch small Wisch: Fielder As A Cub   Can You Handle The Weight?

Dave Wischnowsky

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.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    I would take the risk and go 5-6 years max with him.

    • Dave Wischnowsky

      I was more leery about the idea of signing Fielder earlier this season, Arse. I’ve now warmed up to the thought, though, even with the long-term risks that his girth poses. The Cubs need to make a big move to boost the team’s offense and put butts in the seats. But eight years for Fielder would be too long, 5-6 sounds about right to me, too.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    My postings might be sporadic over the next month.
    I have been up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN with my wife since Sunday.
    My wife (Dr. Arse) needs surgery. Nothing life-threatening, older plumbing with an enlongated recovery period…we will be here a month.
    My wife is a physician and always seeks out the surgeon who wrote the book etc.

    But Dave, I’m grateful for your blog because it helps me keep my mind somewhat off the current difficulties and challenges.

    • Dave Wischnowsky

      Hey, thank you for letting me know, my friend. And my prayers are definitely with you and your wife. You two couldn’t be at a better hospital, that’s for sure. Stay strong and I’m sure all will work out for the best!

      Good news is that as of last week, I’ve made some work changes and actually transitioned full-time into freelance writing, so I will be writing much more regularly here for CBS. I’m excited about it, and I look forward to connecting more with you and all the other readers here at the site.

      Again, you and Dr. Arse are in my prayers, as I’m certain they will be with everyone else who reads this today.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Thanks Dave.
    Best wishes with your new/additional ventures.
    You have the requisite for success as a writer: a unique voice.
    When I see your by-line, I want to read what you have written, because I have come to trust that your voice will be expressed in a unique, thoughtful and articulate point of view.
    Writers either have “it” or not…you do.

    • Dave Wischnowsky

      Thanks much, Arse.

  • Jake from da burbs

    Haha…. I got a kick out of the “Dr. Arse” reference. Your wife wouldn’t happen to be a GI doctor would she? Because that would just be too fitting. But, in all seriousness, definitely want to wish your wife a speedy recovery.

    As for Fielder, I dont believe we have the money to get him but I think I’d be willing to give Prince a 5 year deal if we do That would take him to 33. Anything past that and now you start talking about a Soriano type situation, badly overpaying someone for 1/2 their skills and production. But paying a guy handsomely during his prime years makes sense to me. I also think Fielder would be quite motivated playing against the Brew Crew who chose to pay Braun than him.

    I’m not as worried about Fielder’s weight at this point. He’s a big guy, his dad was a big guy. He knows how to carry his weight, he’s been big his whole life and his body is also used to carrying the weight. Obviously with that much weight, you want to be careful in your mid-late 30’s but as long as Fielder remains in game shape and doesn’t turn into a blimp, I’m not too worried about weight. Certain guys know how to carry the extra weight and it has no bearing on their play. See Tony Gwynn, CC Sabathia, Mo Vaugn, David Ortiz etc.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      thanks Jake
      Actually Dr. Arse is a psychiatrist, which means that I receive 24/7 round-the-clock psychiatric care!!!

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