MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun's contract extension through 2020 will have little impact on Prince Fielder's future with the Brewers, general manager Doug Melvin said Thursday. "They're different situations," Melvin said. "This is an extension. Prince is a free agent at the end of the year." Fielder's pending free agency has been a hot topic in baseball since the Brewers and agent Scott Boras were able to find little common ground in early 2010. Fielder reportedly rejected a $100 million, five-year offer, and last winter the sides avoided arbitration with a record $15.5 million contract for 2011.
Fielder, the Brewers' first-round Draft pick in 2002, is eligible for free agency for the first time following this season and it is becoming increasingly clear that his career will continue away from Milwaukee. The Brewers signed second baseman Rickie Weeks to a $50 million, four-year deal in Spring Training to avoid having Weeks walk at the same time as Fielder. "Who knows that will happen at the end of the year? I don't know," Melvin said. "Our goal is to drop all that confetti off the top of the dome like we did in 2008 [when the Brewers won the National League Wild Card]. That's what our goal is. Some magical dust will come down, and then who knows what will happen at that point. But that's what our goal is. I know Prince, and I know he wants to win and he wants to go out and have a big year this year." Braun was asked his opinion of Fielder's future. "I know Prince enjoys it here; that's a fact. That's undisputed," Braun said. "He truly enjoys it here. He has a great relationship with all of us as players, as friends, as teammates. But again, everybody has to do what's in their best interest. "I chose to [sign the extension] because I felt like it was in my best interest, and I know that ultimately he's going to do what's in the best interest of himself and his family. There's no doubt in my mind that he loves it here. I know he's enjoyed his time here. I can say that we've never had more fun playing together than we have since the beginning of Spring Training. We're really enjoying baseball right now."