Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is in his 11th season with the team. He’s seen wild success, bizarre scandals, and nagging injuries for over a decade. He’s been the face of the franchise and an icon of the team, for better or worse. It’s been time to trade him for at least three seasons.
The Brewers have held off on dealing Braun due to in large part to his no-trade clause, and because of some perceived backlash it might cause, but it’s time to look past all of this and do what’s right for the good of the franchise. It may even be painful to let go of a popular player like Ryan Braun. The Milwaukee Brewers will be better off for it in the long run.
Make no mistake. Ryan Braun is a fantastic hitter and he’s been a joy to watch play baseball for the overwhelming majority of his career. He’s capable of racking up offensive stats that few in the game have been able to match for a lot longer than most, but a deal to a contending team has needed to happen for a while. There are several reasons that trading Braun makes a ton of sense.
Help Is On The Way
The Brewers currently have a glut of young outfielders almost ready to arrive at the Major League level. Having Braun on the roster only means that one of them will be unable to find regular at bats. If Braun stays on the roster while prospects Corey Ray, Lewis Brinson, and Keon Broxton are on the roster, at least one of them will have to sit at all times. Add perpetual breakout candidate Domingo Santana to the mix and the outfield glut becomes even more troublesome. And who can forget Kirk Nieuwenhuis?
Ryan Braun will also likely be in his age 36 season or older when the Brewers are really good again. While we’d like our heroes to stay productive into their twilight years, his skills will diminish and he’ll still be patrolling left field. Unless the DH is implemented in the National League, Braun is going to need to go soon.
Cut Ties With The Past
Ryan Braun has two post season appearances under his belt. He won the Rookie of the Year in 2007. He won the MVP in 2011. He last made an All-Star team in 2015. This is all ancient history and is completely irrelevant to the 33-year old version of a star player. Enjoy the old memories, but let them stay in the past, and allow the team to complete it’s tear down so the rebuild can begin in earnest.
What About Braun’s Contract?
Ryan Braun is still owed $56 million until after the 2021 season. That contract will get really ugly as he continues to add mileage into his mid-30’s. The good news is that if Vernon Wells and his massive albatross of a contract can be traded, any contract can be traded. Braun is also infinitely more productive right now that Wells was when he signed his mega-deal. The Brewers would have to find a match with a team that has deep pockets. Which brings us to the final point.
Where Would Braun Land?
Ideally an American League team with a great farm system that needs a super-productive right-handed bat to split time between left field and DH. Houston and Texas are the two most logical fits, but don’t rule out Baltimore or Toronto. If the Yankees decide to spend again, New York could also make a lot of sense. If San Francisco decides to fix their ailing offense, they could also be in the mix.
Holding on to a player like Ryan Braun may buy the team a little positive PR as the prospects start matriculating from Colorado Springs to Milwaukee, but it’s slowing the process and will end up costing the Brewers far more than it saves. How do you feel about dealing Braun? Let us know in the comments section.