Posted on November 24, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
There is a relative abundance of right-handed power bats on the free agent market this winter, but one who could be on the move via trade is Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers. Braun has spent his entire career with the Brewers, but he’s become the subject of much trade speculation in recent years, especially with a resurgent season in 2016. This has left Braun uncertain of his future in Milwaukee.
“Not knowing 100 percent where (I’ll) be playing is hard. It definitely complicates things,” Braun said on Wednesday. “Obviously, things come up. It’s a part of the business. It’s a part of the profession. If something were to happen, we’d figure it out when we get there.”
The Brewers nearly worked out a trade over the summer that would have sent Braun to Los Angeles in exchange for Yasiel Puig. Ultimately, the trade deadline came and went before the deal could be finalized, but there’s a chance that the Dodgers and Brewers reignite those trade talks this winter. Milwaukee could also bring up Braun in trade discussions with other teams. However, the Dodgers and other teams may not inquire about Braun until they know for certain that they’ve lost out on Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, and some of the other power bats on the market this offseason.
At the moment, Brewers GM David Stearns believes that Braun is in Milwaukee to stay despite the trade speculation. “I get asked about it regularly,” Stearns said about Braun on Wednesday. “I know that’s a big story this offseason, but I’m very happy that Ryan is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. I expect him to be a member of the Milwaukee Brewers going forward.”
Stearns did leave the door slightly ajar, saying, “Unless we get to a point where we are close to a deal, I’ll continue to expect Ryan to be part of the organization going forward.” Of course, teams could become more interested in trading for Braun later in the offseason once the most prominent free agents begin to sign with teams.
If the Brewers are going to trade Braun, it could be now or never. In May, Braun will have 10 years in the majors, all in Milwaukee, and so he will have a full no-trade clause. Braun would then be able to block a trade to any team, and since he shows no signs of being unhappy with the Brewers, there’s no guarantee he’d be open to a move. As of now, Braun has a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
Meanwhile, the Brewers are in the midst of a rebuilding project, and it could be another couple of years until the team has enough pieces in place to compete for a postseason spot. The Brewers will have to decide if Braun can be part of the solution once the rebuilding process is complete, or if it might be worthwhile to trade him for players that can be more useful in the future.
Meanwhile, all Braun can do is wait, uncertain of his future, but hopeful that he has the chance to see out the rebuilding process in Milwaukee to its conclusion. “I said at the end of the year it’s exciting to look at our future and see where we’re headed,” Braun said. “Clearly, they have a vision and a plan. I think that was the most important thing coming in, to be able to stick to that plan and recognize the most important thing was to get it right, and not to try to rush it. I’m sure they’re going to try to do everything they’ve had planned to put us in the best long-term position to be successful.”