Sconnie Sports Talk

Opinion: Brewers should keep Braun off the trade block


During a rebuild, no one is safe. Especially not an All-Star veteran like Ryan Braun.

Slingin’ Stearns has shown he is not afraid of the rebuild, and in fact he has embraced it with open arms. After less than five months on the job, Stearns has made nine trades, sending slugger Khris Davis to the A’s, Adam Lind to the Mariners and Jean Segura to the Diamondbacks.

The next trades that almost everyone would assume as the logical next steps into the rebuild, would be to trade veterans Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy.

But screw logic.

On a team where the roster is going to be made up of almost entirely new faces, most of them around my age, the Brewers are going to want a few veterans around. Especially veterans who are leaders, and Ryan Braun has shown he is a leader of this team.

When Lucroy made comments that gave the perception he did not want to be a part of a rebuild process, saying it would might be best if he were traded, it was Braun who set him straight.

“I talked to him, because a couple of the guys reached out to me and I think he felt that his comments were taken out of context. I made it clear to him that’s just not how we’re going to handle the situation,” Braun said at the Brewers on Deck event. “Sometimes guys get frustrated. Sometimes guys react emotionally. He knows that’s just not how we’re going to handle it.”

After the talk with Braun, Lucroy had a change of heart, saying he was excited to get back to playing baseball and that the Brewers were going to possibly surprise and be better than expected.

Braun had a clear impact on the veteran catcher and is clearly the far and away leader of this team. And just because the Brewers are fully into rebuild mode and most likely won’t be serious contenders for at least a few years, it doesn’t mean you do not keep veterans on the team.

A team full of 20-somethings needs guidance and needs teammates who have done it before. Braun is that guy. He is under contract with the Brewers through 2020 and there is a mutual option for 2021. There should be no rush to trade him and, in fact, the Brewers should not even be thinking of trading him.

Look to the Houston Astros or New York Mets for example. Both teams were saturated with great, young talent, so much so that they made the playoffs—the Mets obviously making the World Series. But the only impact players on either of those teams with playoff experience were Carlos Gomez, who was only with the Astros for half the year, and Curtis Granderson, who had plenty with the Tigers and Yankees. Both the Astros and Mets had great years, using young players to propel them into the playoffs, but neither of them closed the deal when they had the chance. Experience helps teams close the deal and win the World Series. While these teams may win a future World Series, they missed an opportunity last year. And when the Brewers start to contend again, they’ll want players on the roster with playoff experience to help them seize the opportunity. 

Braun brings fans in, keeping revenue up during down years. Braun provides the intangible leadership to a team full of 20-somethings, and frankly Braun’s contract would not garner good trade value.

If the Brewers would offer Braun in a trade to other clubs, that team would inevitably try and under sell his value, not offering anything worth losing Braun’s leadership. This, of course is due to Braun’s massive contract which has $96 million left on it. So, unless he starts hitting 30 plus homers and 100 plus RBIs consistently again, Braun would not do the Brewers much good in a trade.

And the most likely small return the Brewers would get back is not worth giving up the leadership Braun brings, and it is not worth giving up on the hope that Braun has a few more vintage moments left in him for the Brewers.

Because come 2018 or 2019, the Crew may need a Braun home run to propel them back into the playoffs.  


Photo courtesy of Getty Images.