The face of the Milwaukee Brewers is no longer young and vibrant. Ryan Braun spent 2016 plagued with injury and watched the youth around him start to take over.
At 33 years old, Braun still his plenty of future in the game. Though the Milwaukee Brewers may look to trade their aging star. However, it may not be the worst thing in the world to hold on to him for another season.
If everyone is being honest, the market for Braun is not worth what either David Stearns nor the fans would desire. Fellow RtB writer David does a great job diving into the tiny market. His synopsis can be read here. So I won’t dive into the specifics of it too much. But just know, there is not a huge number of potential partners.
The thing is, not trading Braun is not the worst thing that could happen to the Milwaukee Brewers. Through his limited playing time in 2017, he collected some very impressive numbers. In 104 games he knocked 12 homers, which paces out to be about 26 homers in a full season. that just means he came through in limited opportunity. He could bounce back in a big way given a full season in 2018.
The sabremetrics have Braun showing out even better. He posted a WAR of 1.5. By his standards, not so great. But by the standards of the team, he placed fifth highest among Brewer hitters. Overall on the team, that comes out to ninth. Brent Suter just edges out Braun for the eighth spot.
Orlando Arcia, Josh Hader, Keon Broxton are just a few of the more notable names that Braun beat out in the WAR category.
Defensively, he may have lost a step. But that didn’t stop him from posting the second highest UZR for his career. Though it was only a 0.5, it trails only his 2.9 in 2008. It also marks his third season of having a positive number for that stat.
Naturally his range factor is not the highest it has ever been. But that will happen with age. However, if he can hit he will provide enough to be relevant in the lineup. And all indications point to that being the case.
There is always the mentorship role to think about. As it stands right now, the closes the roster gets to a true veteran presence is Stephen Vogt. And his arbitration eligibility doesn’t exactly build up his veteran credibility.
Obviously, paying between 16 and 19 million dollars a year over the next three seasons for a mentor is a little ridiculous. But that is the hand the Milwaukee Brewers are dealt. It’s not like it is completely dead money on the field yet. He is a top five hitter on the team.
Getting rid of Braun is a real possibility. However, it seems to be a win-win scenario for the Brewers. Either they can get a deal they like and alleviate a financial burden, or they keep a mentor and solid player. Plus, a healthy year could mean a resurgence for the franchise player.