Posted on Friday, December 02, 2016
BY DAN ZIELINSKI
The off-season is in full swing and rumors are swirling that the Milwaukee Brewers are shopping star outfielder Ryan Braun in hopes of netting younger, controllable talent as they enter their second full year of the rebuilding process.
This isn’t the first time Braun’s name has come up in trade speculation. During this past season, he was nearly dealt twice to the Los Angeles Dodgers for troubled outfielder Yasiel Puig, injured veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy and prospects.
The Brewers and Dodgers will likely explore this trade again this off-season. But, if Puig is the main piece headed to Milwaukee, it doesn’t make sense for the Brewers. Not only are the Brewers deep with outfield prospects, but Puig has also regressed since taking baseball by storm during his rookie season in 2013.
If and when the Brewers decided to unload Braun, they need to make sure they receive a pitching prospect with No. 1 starter potential in return – something they lack in their farm system.
Braun, 33, is still an elite player and is coming off a 2016 season where he hit .305 with 30 home runs, 91 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. One question mark surrounding Braun is his health. He hasn’t played in over 140 games since 2012.
Besides Braun’s injury history, another roadblock is his contract. Braun is owed $76 million over the next four years and can block trades to all but six teams – Dodgers, L.A. Angels, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins.
If a team is convinced Braun is healthy and is comfortable taking on a majority of his contract, the Brewers owe it to themselves to get the best haul of prospects in return, especially a pitching prospect with ace potential.