Brewers, Fielder Complete Two-Year Contract
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Prince Fielder no longer worries about money.
Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers completed an $18 million, two-year contract on Friday, a deal that avoided salary arbitration.
"You wake up with no worries," Fielder said. "My kids will get toys, my wife can get purses. Everybody's good."
The 24-year-old Fielder receives a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $6.5 million this year and $10.5 million in 2010. Fielder can make a $250,000 performance bonus each year if he has 500 or more plate appearances.
"My kids will be fine, that was my big thing, even though playing baseball you know if you just keep playing, stay healthy, you'll be able to make some money, to get it now takes the edge off," Fielder said. "You just play baseball, I don't know, just alleviate a little bit of stress."
Owner Mark Attanasio said he's glad to see Fielder smiling.
"I feel real good having Prince in the fold on a basis that makes him happy," Attanasio said. "He's a terrific young athlete and one of the leaders on our team, so we're glad he can focus on baseball now."
Fielder would be eligible for arbitration again in 2011 and could become a free agent after the 2011 season. The organization said knowing how much Fielder will make the next two seasons is important for the club that has already surpassed an $80 million payroll for 2009.
"It's just as important he doesn't have to worry about arbitration from his standpoint," general manager Doug Melvin said. "It can be a distraction every year."
Melvin praised Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, for working so quickly to complete a deal.
"We were able to put this deal together in three, four conversations and less than four hours," Melvin said. "When that happens, it's obvious that both parties feel it's in the best interest of both sides."
In 2007, Fielder became the youngest player to hit 50 home runs, and he batted .288 with 119 RBIs. Last year, he hit .276 with 34 homers and 102 RBIs as Milwaukee reached the postseason for the first time since 1982.
"The impact he can put on a game is incredible. It's a huge signing," said manager Ken Macha, who replaced interim manager Dale Sveum in the offseason. "He's got a smile on his face, which is very important. Last year he came into the season with maybe not so big of a smile on his face because of the circumstances."
Fielder was frustrated after being renewed for $670,000, but said that's long in the past now with his new deal in place.
"I'm just happy we were able to get it done. Like I said, fair on both sides. I have no complaints, I'm just ready to play baseball," he said.
Melvin said the club also has no complaints about Fielder's conditioning and has kept tabs on what he's been doing in the offseason.
Speculation about Fielder's conditioning and potential contract hassle led to rumors that he might be traded, something he said he was surprised by.
"It was pretty cool, my wife, she saw it on a Web site," he said. "But it didn't bother me because it's out of my control."
Instead, Fielder will stay in Milwaukee. In the meantime his wife, Chanel, can pick out new purses and his kids can get the toys they want thanks to dad's new riches.
"We'll do it at the same time," Fielder joked. "We'll knock it out all in the same trip."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)