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The Angry Prince of Milwaukee

After having lost two straight in Cactus League play, the Brewers bounced back by beating the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, 4-2, Sunday. Carlos Villanueva made the start, and Chris Capuano got the win, despite a mediocre outing.
But the big story out of Maryvale: Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin honored his threat of a Sunday deadline to renew the contracts of Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder. And the Princely one was not happy about his $670,000 forced contract:

I’m not happy about it at all. The fact I’ve had to be renewed two years in a row. I’m not happy about it because there’s a lot of guys who have the same amount of [Major League service] time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more.

But my time is going to come. It’s going to come quick, too.

Tom Haudricourt, in his blog on JSOnline.com, noted Prince also said:

That’s their scale. You’ve got to respect their scale. My time’s going to come. I’m not going to let it affect the way I play. I’ve got to go play. That’s my job. We’re done with the contract stuff. I’ll just go play baseball now.

Ironically, Melvin was able to reach an agreement with Rickie Weeks and Gabe Gross.
My take: Well, duh, Prince…what did you think was going to happen? Melvin gave you a time frame, and, Scott Boras, your agent, advised you to not accept their offer, so the Brewers and Doug Melvin opted for renewal. Weeks and Gross got how it works. I hate to admit it, but my worst fears of Prince being a puppet to Boras appear to becoming true. This will absolutely make it difficult next year to get a contract done–if Prince’s 2008 performance is anything close to what he did in ’07, he’ll be in line for a contract comparable to Ryan Howard’s $10 million contract this year (Ryan’s first year of arbitration).
That said, what was Melvin thinking? Did Melvin offer Prince the $900,000 that Howard made last year? Couldn’t he have done some simple math and offered Prince a two-year deal worth $10,900,000 and save the organization a lot of headaches in the off season? If Melvin had thrown out a contract for $1.5 million this year, and $8.0 million next year, would Prince have taken it? Would Boras have given Prince the green light? Unfortunately, the specifics are never revealed.
Let’s hope Prince takes his anger out on opposing pitchers…so the Brewers will have to pay him that $10 million+ next year.