Brewers renew young stars Fielder, Braun, Hart
PHOENIX -- Prince Fielder is frustrated about his contract.
The Milwaukee Brewers renewed the slugger's contract for $670,000 on Sunday after he finished third in NL MVP voting last season, when he made $415,000.
"I'm not happy about it at all," Fielder said. "The fact I've had to be renewed two years in a row, I'm not happy about it because there's a lot of guys who have the same amount of time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more.
"But my time is going to come. It's going to come quick, too."
The first baseman will be eligible for arbitration after this season.
General manager Doug Melvin said he thinks the 23-year-old Fielder is making more money than any player not eligible for arbitration who doesn't have a multiyear contract. The Brewers base their offers to young players on performance benchmarks, not what other teams have offered players in similar situations.
"We view our system as more than a fair system," Melvin said. "You can't worry about it. It is what it is. You do it."
Melvin said Fielder hadn't talked to him directly about his frustration.
"You have to respect their scale," Fielder said. "But like I said, I'm not happy about it. But I'm going to do my job this year."
Fielder, who led the NL with a franchise-best 50 home runs last year and had 119 RBIs, didn't let his frustrations show in the field or at the plate Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels.
He finished 1-for-1 with a single and was twice hit by pitches, just off the right knee by Chris Bootcheck in the fourth and a glancing blow off the right elbow pad by Matt Wilhite in the fifth.
Fielder also made a circus play at first base in the third inning when his glove was knocked out of his hand by a sharply hit grounder. But he managed to scoop up the ball with both hands and hustle to first for the out.
Melvin said he hoped the contract strife didn't affect the organization's ability to attempt to negotiate a long-term deal in the coming years with Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras.
"Prince is going to make a lot of money in this game," said Melvin, who acknowledged the Brewers do not have a long-term deal on the table for Fielder at the moment.
Braun made 112 starts at third base beginning May 25. He hit .324 with 34 homers and 97 RBIs, breaking the franchise's rookie home run and RBI records set by Fielder in 2006.
Hart, an 11th-round pick in 2000, was one of the Brewers' most consistent players last year, quietly batting .295 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs in 140 games, his first full season as a starter. He also had 23 steals.
Weeks, who hit .255 with 16 homers, 36 RBIs and 25 stolen bases, has struggled with injuries in his three seasons, including surgery on his left thumb in 2005 and on his right wrist after the 2006 season. Weeks also went on the disabled list one time last season because of right wrist tendinitis as scar tissue continued to break up from the surgery.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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