JSOnline is reporting that Fielder made comments about being unhappy with the renewal of his contract for the second consecutive year. I still can't do links, but here are the quotes from the story:
"I'm not happy about it at all, the fact that they've renewed me two years in a row," said Fielder, whose salary was renewed at $415,000 the previous spring.
"There are a lot of guys with the same amount of time I have who have done a lot less than me and are getting paid a lot more. But my time is going to come and it's coming quick, too."
When asked if this would impact any chance of future negotiations on a long term deal, he said:
"I'm not going to talk about that now. That's between me and my agent. He's handling it.
"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."
So there it is. I always thought this day was coming given Fielder's sometimes prickly nature and Boras working as his agent. I just didn't think it would happen before he was arbitration eligible. I also don't doubt that it won't have a negative impact on his play on the field. It likely will serve as a motivator, though given his production last year I don't see how he needs one. It's always struck me that Fielder was probably the least likely of the young players on hand to stick around Milwaukee beyond even his first free agency year. My hope was that things would stay fairly amicable through the day he gets traded (because they damn well better get something in exchange when he leaves). Maybe they still will. But animosity this early on isn't a good sign.