In only ten years, Ryan Braun is already the franchise leader in home runs with 285. The former 2011 N.L. MVP and six time All-Star has been the backbone of the franchise since he stepped onto the scene in 2007. Much of the Milwaukee Brewers‘ success in the postseason has been because of Braun. There have been serious ups and downs with his career though, whether it be his previous drug tests or his recurring injuries. New Brewers GM David Stearns has already flipped former all stars like Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy for young talented prospects. This leaves many fans to speculate whether the long time face of the franchise, Braun, will also be dealt.
Rumors of Ryan Braun being moved aren’t anything new. Discussions about Braun have been going on for some time now. The reasons why it’s been so long are because of his large contract and age. Braun is still signed to the Brewers until 2021 and is also owed $76 million from his contract. For someone who’s turning 34 this season, that’s a disturbing contract to move.
As mentioned before, Braun has done so much for the franchise, but now doesn’t fit the blueprint that David Stearns has been putting in place. On a team that has been piling up young players, Braun is the lone player left in the starting lineup that has significant experience in the league. These young players are still developing their skills which usually doesn’t translate into wins. It’s tough to compete with the Cubs and Cardinals with a team full of rookies and players who are just digging into their potential. So to have a 10-year veteran on a team of youngsters doesn’t really go together.
If Braun were to be moved at this point it would likely occur around this season’s trade deadline. A large market team that is contending for a run in the playoffs would probably like to add another solid bat to their lineup with Braun. Last year, there were rumors of the Los Angeles Dodgers nearly agreeing to a deal that would’ve involved Yasiel Puig and Braun, but the Dodgers didn’t push the button. Most likely it’s due to the two factors mentioned before. If the team were to trade Braun for younger talent like Puig or prospects it would match Stearns’ formula.
On the other side of the coin, Braun can still play. Last season he put up a .305 batting average and hit 30 home runs. His smooth swing doesn’t appear to be slowing down immediately. If the Brewers did keep Braun or aren’t able to move him by the deadline, it really wouldn’t be that bad of a situation. The Brewers would still have a great player hitting in the middle of the lineup with power. Braun seems to be the only assured player that can hit given his history on a lineup full of question marks coming into this season. However, with his large contract the Brewers should be looking to move him sooner than later. If they can’t move him this year they may have to keep Braun until he reaches the end of his contract.