Milwaukee Brewers: The Ryan Braun Conundrum

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 13: Ryan Braun /

Ryan Braun has long been the face of the Milwaukee Brewers. And not for nothing he is a very good baseball player.

With all of the young talent in the outfield, it would seem that he is on his way out. But with all the money the Milwaukee Brewers owe him until the 2020 season, it seems just a little different. Still, that is not the worst thing in the world.

By the numbers, Braun is still a great hitter. However, the passing years are slowly turning the 34 year old into glass. By that I mean he spent a lot of last season in the DL, appearing in only 104 games. That being said he posted a 1.5 WAR, with an offensive worth of 5.1. Both excellent for such few games.

By and large, he is still the same hitter he always has been. But, the outfield is simply better with him as a veteran presence coming off of the bench. It would be smart to swing Domingo Santana to left to open up a spot for Brett Phillips and his cannon in right. That leaves center to Keon Broxton/Lewis Brinson.

If that is the route to go, it would be simple. Although 18-19 million dollars a year is a lot to pay a healthy guy to sit on the bench. And that is what it would be for the Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun.

So while there are four current players who could pose as reliable starters, it is unlikely to happen. It is equally as unlikely to be putting the expensive face of the franchise on the bench.

If Braun is healthy, he will play. That is the reality of the situation, and unfortunately it will get in the way of some young talent. But his veteran presence is something he brings to the young team that makes it all worth it.

Even with all of his injuries, Braun did hit .268. It isn’t like the Brewers have a dead spot offensively when he steps up to the plate.

The rebuild is not over. There are still a few years until the full effect of it kicks in. Braun is a key piece to getting the offensive core ready to compete.

Bottom line, if he is healthy, he will play the majority of games. It might hold back a few players, but that is not the worst thing in the world at this time in the rebuild. In fact, the timing might end up being perfect.

Next: Potential In-House Relief Options

While I do not fully believe Braun is the best option, it is not hard to see why he will play. The Milwaukee Brewers will not pay him to sit on the bench, nor should they. As long as he produces when he plays, then the situation will be a non-issue.