Yesterday, the Milwaukee Brewers announced that they have signed outfielder Ryan Braun to an extension through the year 2020. While that's great for Braun and the Brewers, the general consensus around baseball is this pretty much guarantees that the Brewers will let first baseman Prince Fielder walk after this season.
Which brings us to the Cubs.
With money to spare this upcoming offseason and Carlos Pena looking more and more like a stopgap than a long-term solution, Fielder is looking like he could be option number one for 2012 (and beyond).
And it could be a HUGE mistake.
Fielder is currently listed at 5'11" and 275 pounds. He looks more like he should be playing on the offensive line instead of first base and like his father, Cecil, before him, his weight could become an issue.
Cecil Fielder was one of the most prodigious homerun hitters of his time. He hit 51 homeruns in 1990, the first player to reach 50 homers since George Foster in 1977 (yes, before steroids, 50 homeruns was difficult to reach). In 7 seasons from 1990-1996, Cecil hit 258 homers (about 37 per year).
After that, things went downhill fast. He was traded to the Yankees in the middle of 1996 and in 1997 he hit only 13 homeruns. The Yankees blamed his weight for his power failure and he ended up playing only one more year in the majors (with the Angels in 1998) before his career was over.
The concern here is that Prince could follow a similar career path as his father. His weight will always be an issue and could lead to a similar dropoff in production that his father experienced in his early 30's.
Fielder will get his big payday from some team, probably around 7 years, $140 million. However, chances are that, by year 4 or 5 of that contract, he will either be a full-time DH or out of baseball.