Will the Brewers trade Prince Fielder at the trade deadline?

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder eyes a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 18, 2010 in Denver. Colorado beat Milwaukee 2-0.         UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

The Brewers seemingly have two options when it comes to Prince Fielder: trade him now, or trade him later. Either way, they’re going to have to trade him at some point because Scott Boras is going to make sure that in a year and a half, Fielder is richer than Bill Gates’ personnel chef.

Fielder signed a two-year, $18 million contract extension with the Brewers in January of last year. Only $4.34 million remains on that contract through the end of the season and then Fielder becomes arbitration-eligible for the 2011 season. After making another $15-16 million in arbitration next year, Boras will ensure that the slugger makes $100 million once he hits free agency in 2012.

A bidding war over a home run commodity like Fielder isn’t something the small market Brewers are prepared for. They could break the bank in hopes of re-signing the slugger, but the more likely scenario is that GM Doug Melvin will seek a top-pitching prospect in a trade for Fielder now or in the offseason.

If Melvin waits, he’ll probably have more suitors interested in the first baseman. But if he trades him at the deadline this year, he might find a desperate general manager who is willing to give up a top arm in order to acquire a slugger for the stretch run.

There are several teams that could be interested in Fielder’s services, although you could make an argument for and against every one of them. The Brewers scouted White Sox pitcher Daniel Hudson on Monday night, but it’s doubtful that he could be the centerpiece in a deal for Fielder. At least not when the Rays (Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis) and Giants (Madison Bumgarner and Zach Wheeler) have more highly touted arms and could be interested in Fielder as well.

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