Will Sveum bring Fielder with him?
November, 17, 2011
By Bruce Levine
Hire the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach and could their slugging first baseman follow?
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswirePrince Fielder worked with new Cubs manager Dale Sveum for the past three seasons when Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach.
That has to be the line of thinking for many fans with the news that Dale Sveum has accepted an offer to manage the Cubs after spending the past six seasons in Milwaukee working with Prince Fielder, who is one of the biggest prizes in free agency this offseason.
Although Sveum and Fielder have a good relationship, the new Cubs manager probably will have no impact on where Fielder signs. Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, is in charge of where Fielder ends up, and Boras has always been known as a guy who gets the most money and longest terms for his client.
The smart money in baseball has Fielder ending up with the Washington Nationals.
"Well, wherever he signs they are getting one heck of a guy," Sveum said. "(He's) one of my favorite people I've ever coached. And the way he competes and plays the game hard as he does every night, you wish you had 25 Prince Fielders. The leadership he brings by the way he plays is unmatched by anyone in baseball."
Fielder batted .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs in helping the Brewers win the NL Central this season. The 27-year-old first baseman has five 30-homer seasons in his six-year career and has driven in 100 runs in each of the past three seasons.
Former Cub Jerry Hairston Jr. saw the Sveum-Fielder relationship firsthand after Hairston Jr. was traded to the Brewers on July 30.
"It was interesting to watch he and Prince work together," Hairston Jr. said. "It will not hurt the Cubs' chances of getting Prince, if that's what they want to do in the offseason. Their relationship is really tight. It's about trust, both Dale and Prince have had success together. That certainly does bond a relationship."
Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd said the Sveum-Byrd connection makes sense but he, like everyone else, is just waiting to see what Theo Epstein and Co. have planned.
"I know that they're pretty tight," Byrd said of Sveum and Fielder. "What could be better than to get Prince here in Chicago? I don't know what Theo and Jed's plan is. Trying to bring in a great player like Prince, and knowing the relationship Sveum, has with him, could be a leg up. But that’s not my call. I'm not the GM, I'm just a player."