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Melvin says Brewers 'not just going to let (Fielder) pick up and leave'

Prince FIelder. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Melvin says Brewers 'not just going to let (Fielder) pick up and leave'

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Oct 20, 2011

MILWAUKEE - The man who constructed the Brewers team that came within two games of a World Series appearance says that he will make an effort to try to keep soon-to-be free agent All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder, but the team has talent in its farm system to fill in potential gaps that may come from free agency.

"We're not just going to let (Fielder) pick up and leave," Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Greg Matzek and Gene Mueller during "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"We'll sit down and talk with (Fielder's agent) Scott Boras, and he'll have to relay the message to Prince and see where we're at."

Where the Brewers are at is in a spot where they may not be able to monetarily compete with the larger-market teams that might be interested in signing Fielder.

The Brewers GM says, however, that all is not a lost cause in terms of making Fielder's productivity contribution to the team remain, even if he does not.

"We still feel as though there is enough talent out there to help fill the gaps,' said Melvin.

The difference in talent level, however, may not make up for the loss of offensive productivity that Fielder brings.

Melvin admits that often, the first time a talented player like Fielder reaches his free agency period, the odds of their current employer keeping them are not so strong.

"I think that when you're a free agent like Prince, a young free agent's history is not on our side," explained Melvin. 

"When you look back at look at Alex Rodriguez, Carl Crawford, Mark Teixeira, all the young free agents the first time, history doesn't show they sign with their clubs."

Melvin also says that there will be more free agents to leave Milwaukee this year. 

"We do lose people to free agency.  Obviously Saito. If we don't pick up Betancourt's option, then he would be a free agent.  K-Rod probably won't be back," said Melvin.

"Obviously, there'll be some holes.  That's the way baseball is today."

How will their replacements come?  First, there is the search within the organization.

"We have some good players coming along," said Melvin. 

"(Outfielder) Caleb Gindl is 22 years of age, had a nice year at AAA (Nashville).  (Pitcher) Michael Fiers is one of the final candidates to be pitcher of the year in AAA.  (Pitcher) Willy Peralta is only 22 years of age, and he's one of the top young pitchers in the game.  Taylor Green, Mat Gamel, those guys are ready to knock on the door."

Beyond signing other team's free agents, there is also the trade route, and Melvin spelled out how that might work.

"We'll get a good chance to feel out what is available," explained Melvin.

"General managers' meetings first take place.  They're going to be in Milwaukee this year.  Then you have winter meetings which take place in Dallas in December.  Up until that point, you have conversations with other ball clubs.  Players file for free agency immediately after the World Series.  There's a five-day window.  Then at that point, you start talking to agents about free agents.  There is a time frame."