Brewers: Ryan Braun “Likely to Play” in 2021 After Short Season

Brewers 1B/OF Ryan Braun wasn’t really sure if he was going to continue his baseball career past the 2020 season. But, with the pandemic occurring and shortening the season, he may have changed his mind.

It was said back in January at Brewers on Deck that Ryan Braun was potentially going to be playing his last season this year. He’s been a vital role and face of the franchise for over a decade so it was really upsetting to Brewers fans to hear that when it was first announced. He said that he would have his final thoughts on it later this year.

Then, the pandemic happened. MLB and MLBPA went back and forth for what seemed like a century, trying to come to terms on the status for the 2020 season. For a while, many thought we weren’t going to get any baseball. But finally, MLB implemented the 60-game season and it looks like Ryan Braun has changed up his thoughts about playing beyond the 2020 season.

2020 is Braun’s last guaranteed year on his contract, but he told reporters such as Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak that “it’s more likely that I play another year than I anticipated a few months back.” He does have a $15 million mutual option for the 2021 season with a $4 million buyout and although the Brewers probably won’t pay Braun the full $15 million, there will likely be negotiations to keep him around for one more year.

With the universal DH now implemented in the National League, it’s highly probable that Ryan Braun will be taking his primary role as the Brewers’ DH. He also will be sharing time at first base with Justin Smoak, while Avisail Garcia will be over in right field, moving Christian Yelich to left field. Being the DH for the Brewers is not only beneficial to the team, but beneficial for Braun.

Braun even said himself that it’s appealing to him to have that opportunity to be the DH to have more chances at the plate. Of course he’ll be in the lineup pretty regularly, but, it allows more room for Counsell to play around with the lineup.

Last season, Braun really showed up, hitting a .285/.343/.505 slashline. He crushed 22 home runs, 75 RBI’s, 31 doubles and 11 stolen bases, respectively. Braun showed he still has it at the plate and can still be a really good hitter when healthy.

A shorter season could potentially help keep Braun productive and boost the production. Instead of spanning it out across 162 games, Braun will have less time to get hurt and have his body break down in just 60 games.

Next: Brewers Reveal Full 2020 Schedule

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As of right now, Ryan Braun is expected to suit up in uniform with the Brewers for Opening Day against the Chicago Cubs, but this whole pandemic is so unpredictable, no one is really sure on if the 2020 season will even occur.