There is a big shadow lurking in the halls of the house of trade rumors. Its owner's bat could be mistaken as a thunderbolt, the size not to be mistaken for any other.
Prince Fielder, first baseman for the struggling Milwaukee Brewers, has found himself amidst a flurry of trade talks. His contract expires after the 2011 season and teams see him as the biggest bat on the trade market this July.
Fielder's power has been imminent over the recent two months, surging to the league lead with 22 homers. He can also be effective while not swinging, as he leads the National League with 61 walks.
With Fielder, you know what you are getting. Some good and some bad comes with a deal, and not just for the buyers, but for the Brewers as well.
If teams are on the market for Fielder, it is well known why. His power is among the best in the game as he has proven himself to be able to drive the ball.
Fielder set the franchise record for RBI in 2009, tying with Ryan Howard for the NL lead. He was the youngest player ever to hit 50 home runs in a season, doing so in 2007. He is on pace to reach 200 home runs in only his fifth season when hitting 28 as a rookie.
When games are close and one run is the difference, having Fielder hitting cleanup will take care of the rest.
As I said, Prince does damage by not swinging the bat. Last season he set another franchise record, this one by drawing 110 walks. This, along with nine hit-by-pitches, boosted his OBP to .412, .113 above his batting average.
This year he leads the NL with 61 walks. His OBP is .398, much higher than his average. He is second in HBP's with 14, trailing only teammate Rickie Weeks.
Prince can motivate a team by his actions. After hitting a big home run, emphatic fist pumps tell the team that it's business time. He knows how to celebrate wins, including the famous "earthquake" celebration against San Francisco in 2009.
-Day In and Day Out
Fielder missed only two innings last season and has the longest active consecutive games played streak in the MLB. 'Nuff said.
As many power hitters do, Fielder has more than his share of strikeouts. He averages 132 per season, which is 162 games for Mr. Durability. He has already amassed 91 punchouts this season.
It does so happen that Fielder strikes out in big situations and can kill rallies. But you have to live with the whiffs.
-Short Time With Buyers
Fielder's contract, as previously mentioned, expires in 2011. His agent is Scott Boras. This is not good for whatever team he plays for because Boras's clients rarely re-sign with their previous employers.
Add this to the price for Fielder. The Brewers will not accept two B-level prospects or simply one A-level prospect. They want more for one of the game's best players, which can empty two of a team's top three or four prospects.
That is a lot to give up for a player that will last for a year and a half, but if it means a World Series title then teams will still do it.
Some teams do not like Prince Fielder at all. Just Saturday, the Braves threw at him on consecutive pitches, quite obviously on purpose. Others such as the Pirates, Dodgers, and Cardinals have appeared to bean Fielder.
These feelings toward the big man won't just die if he switches teams. His new team can only hope beanballs don't get in the way of the actual games.