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Loaded first base crop could force Milwaukee into action

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It seems like each year there is one position that just overwhelms the baseball market. This year it is at first base where there are no less than five former All-Stars available and a few others there for the taking as well.

The free agent crop includes the likes of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman, Lyle Overbay, Aubrey Huff and Carlos Pena among others. As good as those players are, though, the two big names on the first base market are Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez, both of whom can easily be had in a trade.

Both Fielder and Gonzalez are eligible to hit free agency after this coming season and with massive deals looming, I don't expect either to be with their current clubs at the start of next season.

The Brewers, though, are the ones who have to act quickly on this one. There is so much talent available at the position that they are going to have to strike fast. I don't think San Diego is as inclined to deal Gonzalez, so Milwaukee can swoop in right now, deal Fielder quick and get a nice return.


The Brewers have to act now and deal Prince Fielder.
I am thinking a Fielder deal gets done either by the Winter Meetings or certainly at them.

If Milwaukee waits until next year's trade deadline to deal Fielder it could blow up in its faces if San Diego is still shopping Gonzalez. Let's be honest if those two are pitted against one another teams are going to be more likely to pony up for Gonzalez, leaving Milwaukee out in the cold.

The Brewers have to act now. Fielder's stock already fell a little thanks to an off year that saw him hit just 32 home runs with 83 RBI - down 58 from his monster 2009 campaign. Not to mention his ever-expanding girth is becoming a concern.

There will be plenty of suitors for Fielder, but his best landing spot could be in Texas, where they have exactly what the Brewers are looking for - a surplus of young pitching talent. Even if the Rangers fail to re-sign Cliff Lee, they still could put a package together with major league ready talent like C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hunter, or Colby Lewis in addition to prized prospects like Martin Perez and Tanner Scheppers.

The Rangers recently declined the 2011 option on Vladimir Guerrero. They wouldn't skip a beat if they slide Fielder into that already potent lineup.

Gonzalez was the big fish on the market last offseason, but the Padres stayed pat and it paid off, as they were in the National League playoff mix up until the final day of the season.

This winter, though, I think they'll begrudgingly move Gonzalez. Where? How about Boston? If the Red Sox are not going to re-sign Adrian Beltre, then they can move Kevin Youkilis to third and slide Gonzalez into first. Boston was hot and heavy for Gonzo last offseason, it stands to reason they will be hot on his trail this winter.

Don't forget San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer is a disciple of Boston GM Theo Epstein and knows the Red Sox farm system very well.

Then again. the Red Sox could be thinking the same thing with regards to Fielder too.

As far as the rest of the free agent first base class ... who knows? It is going to be a wild carousel ride. If I had to make a guess right now I would say that Konerko and Dunn wind up with the White Sox, Huff stays in San Fran and Berkman goes back to Houston.

Yes my friends the hot stove is heating up.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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