The Mrs. sat down the other night just as Jim Rome (who I don't usually pay attention to) was ranting about how the Brewers should've signed Prince Fielder to a big, long-term contract instead of holding him to his rookie deal. She was asking what that was about. So I explained it to her, saying I essentially agreed with Rome that they should've signed him because they'll lose him...the flip side being they're a small market team without endless resources and a contract is a contract. But that guy is/will be the face of the franchise and will put fannies in the seats. In the Fielder/Brewer situation I see Fielder having more of the leverage. Money and a long-term contract is all they have to keep him there.
Conversely last night I hear news of Jonathan Papelbon starting to squawk about his contract with the Red Sox. Help me out here but isn't he in the same situation as Fielder? Funny how I sort of looked at it differently though. Maybe it's because he's a pitcher, especially a closer, so proving yourself over 2 seasons doesn't always mean what it does with a position player. So the Sox might bump his salary up a few thousand K but won't give him a big deal until next year, which I agree with..."underpay" for these guys while you can because you're going to overpay after that.
Maybe it's because the Sox are in a different situation than Milwaukee that I view these instances differently. Milwaukee can't afford to be cheap with Fielder. The Sox have the leverage of a winner in a rabid baseball town that Milwaukee doesn't have going for it.