He's likely gone after the 2011 season, but until then Prince Fielder holds a record of some distinction. He and the Brewers concluded negotiations on a one-year deal (Jon Heyman tweeted the specifics) that will pay the portly Prince a sum fit for a King. $15.5 million for 2011. If there were doubts, the Brewers have pushed all their chips to the middle of the table and are all in for 2011.
What makes the deal remarkable is the value. Only one contract wrangled through the arbitration process has ever been a richer reward. The Astros and Roger Clemens settled at $18M in 2005, but he was a free agent who was offered salary arbitration and accepted. In Clemens' case the process moved beyond filing to the point where figures were exchanged. Clemens asked for $22 million, while the Astros countered with $13.5 million.
As a result of that caveat, Fielder's deal represents the most lucrative contract that an arbitration eligible player has received for a single season, surpassing the previous record that Mark Teixeira held at $12.5 million. Like Fielder, Teixeira was in his final season of arbitration eligibility. ¬†The third largest contract was also reached this season by another third time arbitration eligible player, Jonathan Papelbon at $12 million.
Fielder has been the picture of durable production in Milwaukee. Since becoming the Brewers full time first baseman in 2006, he has averaged 159 games and put up a batting line of .279/.386/.536 with 190 home runs in five seasons.
The Brewers also announced that Manny Parra had agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. Shaun Marcum, Rickie Weeks and Kameron Loe remain unsigned and eligible for arbitration.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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