Last August, the Milwaukee Brewers were reportedly 20 minutes away from trading the face of the franchise, Ryan Braun, for Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. Let’s take a look at the trade that almost happened a year later, and what could have been.
Ryan Braun has been the face of the Brewers franchise since he joined the team in 2007. With the team looking to rebuild and Braun’s contract running through 2020, it seemed he was in a perfect spot for a trade last year.
For the Dodgers, Yasiel Puig was sent down to the Minor Leagues after a couple of incidents off the field and lack of production on the field. He was more trouble than he was worth at that point so the Dodgers placed him on revocable waivers. The Milwaukee Brewers won the claim on Puig and made progress towards a deal.
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The Brewers wanted to deal Ryan Braun for Yasiel Puig, Brandon McCarthy, and two unnamed prospects. They agreed on one prospect, but didn’t make enough progress on the second.
If they reached a deal, how would it look right now? Let’s take a look at how these players have performed this year:
245 AB, 71 H, 19 2B, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 8 SB, .290/.363/.535
377 AB, 95 H, 14 2B, 21 HR, 57 RBI, 12 SB, .252/.336/.462
6-4, 16 GS, 86.2 IP, 3.84 ERA, 25 BB, 66 SO, 1.23 WHIP
Ryan Braun was injured for a good chunk of the year. Yasiel Puig has had a decent season for the Dodgers. He bounced back from his struggles of 2016 that nearly led to his trade from Los Angeles. McCarthy has had a good season as well, although he is currently on the disabled list with a blister. McCarthy would’ve been a solid option for this rotation had he become a Brewer.
Puig’s contract is up at the end of 2018. He has one more arbitration eligible season until he becomes a free agent at the end of 2019. Puig is only 26 years old, while Braun is now 33.
As far as the prospects go, we’ll likely never find out who they actually were discussing. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Cody Bellinger‘s name was suggested by Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns. Given the state of Milwaukee’s first base depth last year, Bellinger was a top prospect that was just about ready for the Big Leagues. We all know what he’s done this year. Whether he was actually the agreed upon prospect or not, we’ll never know, but it’s likely that David Stearns tried to get Bellinger.
Whatever chances the Brewers had of acquiring Bellinger and Puig are now gone. Bellinger has been amazing so far and will likely be the NL Rookie of the Year. Puig is having a resurgent season with LA, while Braun suffered through injuries and now has full no trade rights.
Most believed the trade could have been revisited last winter, but the market for Braun never materialized. The Dodgers are likely the only team Braun would accept a trade to and it’s doubtful now that they would even want to trade for him now.
After seeing Braun struggle with injuries and Puig’s bounceback 2017 campaign, would you like to have seen this trade go through? Without knowing the prospects involved, it’s difficult to understand the true impact this blockbuster could’ve had. They would’ve likely been Top 30 guys that would improve an already deep Milwaukee Brewers farm system.
An August blockbuster this year is unlikely for the Milwaukee Brewers, but anything can happen. Just don’t expect Ryan Braun to be on the trading block. This team could still see some improvements for the playoff run the rest of this month through September.