Curious to see what you folks think about this one. I've avoided the subject of Fielder's impending free agency as much as possible so we can enjoy a year of a premium player having a great year and the team being in contention. But baseball is what baseball is, and eventually the Brewers are going to have to make some decisions about what they're going to do.
I'm going to leave out the option of trading him at the deadline right now. A case can be made that it would be a good move if a capable first basemen were to come back in a trade, but it's not a good case, and it seems unlikely that a team would give up any sort of decent first basemen this side of a James Loney-type to have the privilege to bid for Fielder this offseason.
So my poll here is going to include three options:
First: This offseason, when Fielder files for free agency, offer him arbitration, pat him on the back and say job well done, and strongly hint that we'd love to see him end up with a nice AL team. Wait for the draft picks, and hope he signs with a somewhat good AL team so a first-rounder comes back for next June's draft.
Second: Offer Fielder a legitimate deal but basically say this is the maximum we're going to be able to offer. We know it's not the best offer you'll be able to get, but it's on the table. Set a deadline sometime in December or so. I'm thinking something like 4-5 years, 20 million per or just slightly above. 4 years $80 million low end, 5 years $110 million high end. If he expresses any serious interest, look into some restructuring like in the Braun deal with deferred money or the Sabathia deal with an opt-out. When offering this, recognize there's maybe a 5% chance he takes it.
Third: All out offer. Give him the Gonzalez or Texeira-type deal he wants and can probably get from some team out there. Risk a long-term crippling contract for the nice idea of having Fielder.
I'm not going to go into what I'm picking yet. Have at the poll. 9