Call me crazy, but I don't want to see Prince traded. I fully understand the argument for the move. The Brewers can't afford to keep him, we may as well get something for the guy, the rotation has a huge hole in it, and 1+2+3=Matt Cain.
But the cost to me is too great. And although Prince has emerged this season as a premier first baseman, (.995 fielding percentage, league leading 126 RBI), this isn't the quality that I feel makes him irreplaceable. Prince brings a natural leadership that doesn't exist anywhere else in the clubhouse, and that a pitcher simply can't bring to the table (CC is the exception to the rule).
Let's theorize a minute: who would replace Prince? Gamel is the obvious choice at his position, but he's too mild mannered to be an emotional leader. Casey McGehee could take over at clean-up and at times reminds me of Prince, but he's a bit too broody, as evidenced by his stony demeanor following his first career grand slam (he was still upset with himself over an error he made).
Then there's Braun. Don't get me wrong, Braun is an important cog, and an extremely talented ballplayer. A .300 BA, 300 RBI, and 100 HRs in under 3 seasons are the things a hall of fame career is built upon. And watching him swing a bat is a treat for any baseball fan--the man is an artist. But thus far in his short career, he hasn't shown that unmeasurable it.
Here's a montage: Fielder standing in the batters' box, glaring at the pitcher, bat slowly rocking. Shoving Parra to the bench after he attempted to slink into the clubhouse to hide from his poor outing. Plowing through Giants catcher Todd Greene. Restrained by his teammates in the Mets' clubhouse. Stomping on home plate after a walk off home run, arms raised in the air and smiling as his teammates fall to the ground.
Sorry Braun, but actions speak louder than words, and though these actions don't show up in the stat-box, they strike fear into the heart of the opponent and inspire those around him. And that is why they should hold on to him until the Boston Red Sox pry him out of their cold, dead hands. Who knows? Maybe a deal can be worked out.
Besides, a duo of Gallardo and Cain sounds nice, but I'd hate to miss out on things like this: