Speaking to Brian Anderson, a TBS announcer who is also a Brewers play-by-play man, for a postseason feature, Fielder said, "I'm signed for this year, but being real about it, it is probably the last year."
In reference to Ryan Braun, his slugging teammate and fellow NL MVP frontrunner, Fielder said, "It's been great, unfortunately, this is probably the last year of the one-two punch... But I think it's been good, [five] years, him and me. Hopefully, we can go out with a blast."
It has been widely expected that the Brewers would be unable to re-sign the 27-year-old Fielder at season's end but the timing of his commets is nevertheless a surprise. The Brewers entered play on Wednesday in first place in the National League Central and with a magic number of eight to clinch their first division title since 1982.
Fielder's stellar season has been a big part of that success. He ranks among the top five in the National League in home runs (32, fifth), RBIs (109, second), walks (95, second), on-base percentage (.407, second), OPS (.949, fifth) and extra-base hits (66, fifth). He was also the MVP of the All-Star Game after hitting a go-ahead three-run homer in the NL's 5-1 win.
"This game we play is a job, it's a profession," Braun told Anderson. "Sometimes I think we lose sight of that which is a good thing. But there's always a business side. Everybody has to do what is in their best interest. The best interest of their family. Guys earn a right to become free agents. You never know what's going to happen when you get there. But for him, I couldn't see why every team in baseball wouldn't want him on their team. Certainly, he will get some huge offers in the offseason. So for us right now, we are just trying to enjoy while we're together, enjoy the fact that he's still a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and accomplish as much as we can this year."
Fielder, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, is making $15.5 million this year and is likely to seek a contract of at least nine figures. He is the son of former All-Star first baseman Cecil Fielder and has spent his entire seven-year career with the Brewers, who drafted him with the seventh overall pick of the 2002 draft. He ranks second in franchise history with 224 home runs, trailing only Hall of Famer Robin Yount.
Braun, also 27, has been part of a slugging tandem with Fielder since joining him in Milwaukee in 2007. This year he is hitting .329 with 28 home runs and 97 RBIs. In April, Braun signed a five-year, $105 million extension with the club that runs through 2021.
Fielder's comments and Braun's reaction will be aired on TBS MLB on Deck at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.