The Milwaukee Brewers could be dealing outfielder/third baseman Ryan Braun at some point this offseason.
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Market Nonexistent For Braun
Thursday, Jan. 21
MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that there is "not much trade action" on Braun so far, as the team is first focusing on other players, such as catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Jan. 7 that "the Brewers would not hesitate to move Braun and his five-year, $105 million contract extension that kicks in next year if a sensible offer surfaced."
However because of Braun's past that includes performance-enhancing drug allegations and because of a "significant no-trade protection in [Braun's] contract," Haudricourt believes a deal for him is highly unlikely.
Before his PED problems in 2013 that saw him play in just 61 games because of a suspension, Braun was one of the most consistent power hitters in the league, launching over 30 home runs in five of his first six seasons, which included a 2011 MVP award and a league-leading 41 bombs in 2012.
In 2014 and 2015, Braun hit 19 and 25 home runs, respectively. While it isn't a bad output, it's still a noticeable drop-off after a PED suspension.
If his contract weren't so large, maybe some teams would be willing to take a chance on him. But if a team is going to pick up that deal, it'd obviously want a pre-2013 Braun in the middle of its lineup.
Power numbers aside, Braun is still capable of finding his way on base. He's had an on-base percentage of over .350 in seven of his nine big league seasons. With his diminished power, he is still a prime candidate to bat third in a lot of lineups, as he still has some pop in his bat.
His ability to play two positions also adds defensive versatility if a roster is hit by the injury bug. The problem is he is prone to missing time; he hasn't played in 150 games or more since 2012.
The negatives are stacked against the Brewers and their hopes of moving on from Braun, and it looks like they realize that, too. That's why they are trying to deal others in an attempt to build up their roster. Milwaukee's best chance to deal Braun might be floating him out on the market and hoping there is a team that is willing to make an acceptable offer.
For now, though, those who want Braun out of a Brewers uniform shouldn't be holding their breath.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.