LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Brewers have hardly been overwhelmed by what they've been offered for Prince Fielder at the Winter Meetings.
But that doesn't mean Fielder won't be traded this winter.
If anything, the team may be more inclined to trade away the star first baseman, because as the money flows to free agent after free agent, it becomes more and more obvious that the Brewers have little chance of retaining Fielder when he becomes a free agent at the end of 2011.
What the Brewers need to weigh now -- and what they have already spent many hours discussing -- is whether it's better to take what they can get for Fielder this winter (even if it's less than they'd like), or whether to begin the year with Fielder on the roster, hope to contend, and then trade him at midseason (for what likely would be an even lower return) if they don't contend.
The answer could well be tied to the Brewers' pursuit of pitching. Milwaukee has already traded for Shaun Marcum, and the Brewers have also worked to try to sign free agent Carl Pavano. It seems, though, that Pavano is likely to sign elsewhere.
The Fielder decision is a tough one for Brewers management, and it's one they've wrestled with since the middle of last season (if not before that). But it's a decision they continue to talk about.