Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun not fooling anyone on future plans

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on September 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on September 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Braun, the stalwart of the Milwaukee Brewers, hints this year could be his last though I’m not going to hold my breath.

Who is Milwaukee Brewers veteran Ryan Braun trying to fool? Are we really to believe he is going to call it quits at the conclusion of the 2020 baseball season? No chance.

Braun’s contract does call for a mutual option after this year allowing him a window to walk away from the game or potentially leave the Milwaukee Brewers if he chooses. Let me tell you something. Ryan Braun is not done playing baseball and Ryan Braun is not going anywhere.

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A six-time All-Star and former league MVP over the course of his thirteen-year career, Braun told reporters he has an even bigger “sense of urgency” this year as it may be his last. If the Milwaukee Brewers have anything to say about the situation, Braun will be brought back on notoriety alone. Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Ryan Braun.

These names are interchangeable when you discuss the best Milwaukee Brewers of all time. It won’t be on notoriety alone however as he remains a productive contributor on a team which has made the playoffs two seasons in a row.

The contract: Currently Braun is finishing up a five year, $105 million extension of a contract he originally signed in 2011. Both the Brewers and Braun would have to exercise their option for the 2021 season in which a salary of $15 million is activated. The Brewers can buy out the contract for $4 million.

The precedent: Entering this offseason both Ryan Zimmerman and Alex Gordon faced similar scenarios. Veterans of one team, on player-friendly contracts, who expressed hope of returning to the only team they had ever known. The Nationals declined Zimmerman at $18 million, bought him out at $2 million and resigned him at $2 million for the upcoming season. The Royals declined Gordon’s $23 million option, bought him out for $3.5 million and resigned him this year to a $4 million deal.

The conclusion: Ryan Braun is not Ryan Zimmerman or Alex Gordon. Zimmerman has been slowed by injuries over the past handful of years. Gordon, who has never had great power numbers, struggles with offensive consistency. Braun is still reaching base at a good clip and his OPS numbers suggest he can still hit for power. Before the offseason hits the Brewers need to extend Braun one more time.

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The contract cannot be too team-friendly as Braun would garner interest on the free-agent market. A two-year extension with an option for a third year would keep Braun in a Brewers uniform until age 39 when he can ride off into the sunset as the greatest Brewer of all time.