PITTSBURGH -- The trade market for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder could be heating up, at least according to some of the national pundits. A number of reports this week have linked the White Sox to Fielder, including a Tweet on Wednesday from FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal claiming Chicago was trying to "accelerate talks" between the teams. But before you start thinking of replacing that Fielder jersey, there was another report late on Wednesday from MLB Network's and SI.com's Jon Heyman, who, citing "sources close to the Brewers situation," wrote that Fielder "is unlikely to be traded."
So, will he be dealt or not? The answer will come by July 31, the deadline for teams to trade players without being forced to expose them to waivers. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin doesn't comment on trade rumors, a policy he has more strictly enforced in recent seasons. He has been particularly quiet about Fielder, who is under club control for one more season after 2010 before qualifying for free agency. If the Brewers-White Sox rumors are true, the player most often mentioned as garnering interest from the Brewers is 23-year-old right-hander Daniel Hudson, who beat the Mariners on Monday for his second Major League win. According to Rosenthal, the Brewers only view Hudson as a middle of the rotation-type pitcher, and a separate report from ESPN.com's Buster Olney says that Chicago "probably can't make a deal unless they include Gordon Beckham in the package." Beckham, also 23, is Chicago's starting second baseman. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the Brewers had two scouts on hand for Hudson's last start, and also identified 21-year-old corner infield prospect Dayan Viciedo as a player of interest to Milwaukee. Beckham is batting .237 this season with a .294 on-base percentage and a .630 OPS but had a fine rookie season in 2009, when he finished with a .270 average, 14 home runs and 63 RBIs in 103 games as a third baseman. He would give the Brewers a ton of depth on the infield, with third basemen Casey McGehee in the Majors and top prospect Mat Gamel currently playing for Triple-A Nashville, and Rickie Weeks a fixture at second base in Milwaukee. Any of those players could be attractive to teams in a separate trade. Fielder, Weeks and outfielder Corey Hart are drawing interest from clubs because all three players are on track to reach free agency during the winter of 2011-12.