There are plenty of teams who could use Ryan Braun in their starting lineup come April. If that’s the case, why are the Brewers struggling to unload the former MVP?
The Milwaukee Brewers are a team in the middle of a rebuild. Usually, that would mean trading away your best players in an attempt to acquire top young talent. So why hasn’t the team traded away slugger Ryan Braun? There is a pretty logical reason according to reports from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
According to a team executive, most teams around the league are somewhat wary to pull off a blockbuster trade due to Braun’s troubled PED history.
“When a guy with that contract has been busted once, it’s hard to commit those dollars and those player resources because if he gets busted again, you lose all of your guys and you lose Braun,” the executive said. “Nobody is saying he’d do it again, but while he’s a very good impact player, it’s just a tough one.”
If you don’t remember, Braun was suspended for 65 games in 2013 after testing positive for PED’s. His reputation took a hit after the suspension, obviously. His handling of the situation didn’t help either. While none of that was good for Braun, his numbers didn’t take a major hit the following year or last season.
Since 2015, he’s hitting .295 with a .361 OBP and .518 slugging percentage. His power numbers haven’t faded, blasting 55 home runs and driving in 175 RBI while striking out just 213 times. Amongst National League outfielders, he’s ranked in the top five in Off, wOBA, wRC+ and wOBA to name a few.
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It’s realistic to understand the vantage points of other major league clubs. Braun would probably require at least one or two top prospects and a low-tier prospect. If you unload that and he ends up testing positive again, you have a major failure and epic bust on your hands, not to mention an aggravated fan base.
If there was a trade
On the other hand, plenty of teams could use a bat and leader like Ryan Braun. He isn’t a great fielder and is beginning to age, so an American League club would be the best fit. Braun is a logical fit at designated hitter, acting as an occasional outfielder in the future.
Financials will also be taken into consideration. He is owed $91 million through 2021, with a $4 million buyout option in 2021, his age 37 season. A team with a large payroll would have to be willing to offer up that cash, assuming the Brewers won’t send any cash in a trade.
That leaves a few teams, given they don’t have serious issues with the past PED issues. I wouldn’t count the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros out. Again, with concern over the previous suspension, Braun could very well stick with the Brewers.
General manager David Stearns went on 105.7 The Fan and told local radio hosts he fully expects to have Braun for the 2017 season.
“At this point, my expectation is that Ryan is going to be here next year and going forward. My general thinking right now is that if we were going to get a deal that was going to motivate us to move Ryan, we likely would’ve already gotten it,” said Stearns. “Obviously, we need to keep listening, that’s my job…Given the offers that have come to us at this point, and he’s still a Brewer, I expect that he’s going to be a Brewer going forward.”