Even though it has been over three years since Ryan Braun admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, the incident continues to follow him.
The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder has been frequently rumored to being mentioned in trade talks throughout the past year. At the deadline last August, he was nearly dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, he still remains a member of the Brew Crew even though the team is going through a rebuilding stage.
At 33 and still extremely productive, Braun is a prime candidate for Milwaukee to trade for younger, more controllable talent. With that being said, it is becoming more and more likely that Braun is here to stay.
One MLB executive believes teams are so hesitant to trade for Braun because of his past PED usage.
“When a guy with that contract has been busted once, it’s hard to commit those dollars and those player resources because if he gets busted again, you lose all of your guys and you lose Braun,” the executive told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Nobody is saying he’d do it again, but while he’s a very good impact player, it’s just a tough one.”
Braun’s past PED-use shouldn’t make him any less valuable. The claim is actually laughable.
It is worth noting that Braun has never been mentioned in any rumors regarding performance-enhancing drugs in the past three years and apologized adamantly for his mistakes. Since missing most of the 2013 season because of the suspension, Braun has been more and more productive each year with this past season being his best. He finished 2016 with 30 HRs, 91 RBIs, and an impressive .305/.365/.538 slash line.
While Braun’s contract isn’t cheap by any means, it is certainly not unreasonable. It can even be argued that he is a value at his current price. His deal owes him $76 million through 2020 with a $15 million mutual option for the 2021 season. At his level of production, just under $20 million per season is a good value.
Braun’s past PED-use shouldn’t make him any less valuable. The claim is actually laughable. Braun has learned from his mistake and isn’t going to use performance-enhancing drugs ever again.
In my admittedly biased (but trying not to be) opinion, I think Braun is the most valuable hitter left on the market this offseason. Encarnacion, Trumbo, and Bautista are the best options still available in free agency. Braun puts up similar power numbers to these hitters as well as hitting for a better average. Adding Braun to a corner outfield spot would be an upgrade for nearly every team in the league.
Seattle, Toronto, Cleveland, and Los Angeles appear to be in need of a talented corner outfielder. Assuming that MLB executives around the league recognize just how unmistakably valuable Ryan Braun is, it should really only be a matter of time until a deal gets done.
His PED history is not a valid reason to not pursue Ryan Braun.