The Milwaukee Brewers have been considering trading Ryan Braun for quite some time, not finding the right partner. The Los Angeles Dodgers have had the same thoughts about Yasiel Puig. Turns out the two teams almost traded with each other, and although it didn’t work this season before the deadline, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a future to this deal.
The proposed deal that eventually collapsed because the two teams ran out of time, would have sent Braun to the Dodgers, while Puig, Brandon McCarthy and two pitching prospects would have gone to play for the Brewers. Braun cleared the Dodgers as one of the six teams he was willing to be traded to, and actually hung out at the clubhouse until it became too late to complete the deal, with the two sides not finding the right players as compensation for sending Braun to the West Coast.
It isn’t over. There’s going to be heavy interest in Braun, like there was this season during the first half of the year, with the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves as the leaders in this chase. The Dodgers, maybe due to geographic location and nothing else, are probably on top or near the top of his list. Braun spends his winters in the Los Angeles Area, growing up in California before playing his baseball in Miami. Warm weather, even if he has been playing for Milwaukee since 2007, could be something of a preference of his.
Whether or not this deal will be back on the table in a few months, it might be with other players. Puig might not be off the list of “unwanted” yet, but some team wanted to take him in the Waivers and the Dodgers still kept him. Since returning to the team in September, he has a 1.169 OPS, hitting 3 home runs in 23 plate appearances. He’s still on contract through the 2018 season, making $17.4 million over the next two seasons.
The more difficult piece to move is McCarthy, recently turning 33, who is still on the hook for $22.3 million in the next two seasons. He has just returned from Tommy John surgery, and although he has looked better in his performances this season than in 2015, he still hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since August, and might have worn out his welcome in Los Angeles, with the Dodgers willing to take on Braun’s big money just so McCarthy could leave.
Braun will turn 33 in November. His .309 batting average is his best since 2012, and his OPS is back to the highs of before with .914. He has 27 home runs in 512 plate appearances. His deal is guaranteed through 2020, making $76 million in the next four seasons. For the 2021 season there’s a $15 million team option, and a $4 million buyout.