Dale Sveum has spent the last six seasons coaching from various positions on the Milwaukee Brewers staff.
Or to put it another way, he's seen all but 39 of Prince Fielder's 998 career games firsthand from the top step of the dugout.
Fielder made his MLB debut in 2005 as a 21-year-old, but earned just 62 plate appearances. Sveum was hired as the Brewers' third base coach before the '06 season, a position he held for one season.
Sveum, who was a first-round draft pick of the Brewers back in 1982, spent time as the bench coach the next season, then moved back to third base coach, spent a short time as interim manager and then moved to hitting coach, a position he has held the last three seasons.
That's just a long way of saying he and Fielder have spent almost every day together for the the past six seasons, the last three of which Sveum directly impacted Fielder's performance as part of his hitting coach duties.
The slugging first baseman is currently a free agent and interested in reaping the benefits of his offensive prowess to the tune of a huge payday. Huge like 200 million over nine years huge.
He doesn't turn 28 until five weeks into the 2012 season and is right in the heart of his prime. As new Cubs president Theo Epstein said, he is not interested in signing free agents who have left their best years behind them. Given his age and history, it's conceivable to think Fielder's best years are still ahead of him.
Fielder has never been shy about his appreciation for Sveum, claiming the 47-year-old is one of the best coaches he's ever had.
Does this all add up to Fielder signing the megadeal he seeks with the Cubs?
Just imagine how many times he'd hit the ball out onto Sheffield Ave. He'd have a fan club just waiting out on the street for a chance to nab a home run, much like Sammy Sosa did in his heyday.
Imagine Fielder spending 81 games hitting in cozy Wrigley Field. Imagine when the wind is actually blowing out. With his huge uppercut, there wouldn't be a pitcher in the league that would want to pitch to Fielder.
However, it appears those dreams may just have to stay in our imagination.
"It's an interesting theory, but the sense I'm getting is the Cubs aren't really looking for that guy that will cost 25 million and would an eight- or nine-year commitment," Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney told David Kaplan on CSN after Sveum was announced.
"Theo and Jed Hoyer said all along how committed they are to building from within, from the ground up and that's really what attracted Theo to this job. So I think they're going to put their money into pitching and defense and more volume of pitching than just one big-name stud pitcher."
Sigh. That would have been awesome.
Mooney has a point. While the Cubs are still under Alfonso Soriano's and Carlos Zambrano's nauseating contracts, it would be tough to imagine the new regime shelling out that kind of money for one player, even if it is a guy young enough and good enough to build around.
Who knows, maybe something will work out. Maybe Theo and Jed are just giving everybody the runaround right now, playing this one close to the vest.
Cubs fans can only hope.