Ryan Braun is, and has been, the face of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise for many years. He has spent a decade of his life with the Crew, and produced Hall of Fame numbers in the process.
Of course, there is always the asterisk next to his name for his steroid use years back, but there is no denying that Braun at least belongs in the Brewers team Hall of Fame. This year, Braun has been bitten by the injury bug, often missing time and only appearing in 53 games so far. Despite his injuries, he has helped keep Milwaukee in contention in the tough NL Central.
There is no denying that Braun is still very capable of playing at a high level for years to come, and that is precisely why trading him away from the only franchise he has known since his rookie year might not have been the worst thing in the world for the Brewers.
Milwaukee is currently 56-52, 2.5 games back of the first place Chicago Cubs with a couple months to go in the season. What is important to note though, is the trends of the two teams. Milwaukee has gone through an extremely rocky patch since the All Star break, while Chicago has caught fire. The defending champs are far more experienced and more talented than the Brewers are right now.
By trading Ryan Braun for more prospects in key positions, Milwaukee could have continued to build up their already large stockpile of young talent. The young core the team already has locked down for the future includes: Orlando Arcia, Domingo Santana, Lewis Brinson, Brett Phillips, Josh Hader and Jonathan Villar. Everyone on that list is under 26 years old, and three of them play in the outfield. Perhaps moving Braun out and giving the young guys some more experience in the outfield could help Milwaukee find their lineup of the future.
Braun has been a part of the trade rumor mill around the deadline each season for the last few years, and Milwaukee has yet to pull the trigger. By hovering between being a “win now” team and a “rebuilding” team, the Brewers are doing themselves no favors. This year’s hot start was awesome for fans to watch, especially as the rival Cubs struggled after winning the World Series last year, but things are starting to even themselves out and Milwaukee is looking more and more like the team people expected them to be.
What fans should keep in mind as the last 54 games are played is that the future is bright, with or without Ryan Braun. The deadline has passed, but players can still be traded until September. However, to orchestrate trades, players involved must clear waivers first, making it tough for Braun to be moved in a deal that would be beneficial for both teams.
Number eight should still be out there in left field for the remainder of 2017, but maybe next offseason Braun should be moved. Braun could play out the final years of his career for a legitimate contender, and Milwaukee could start to see their bright future unfold.