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Friday, April 22, 2011

Reaction to Braun's Extension

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

The Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun have agreed to a five-year $105 million dollar contract extension on top of the current agreement; this was a deal that will ultimately lock up Braun until 2020.
This move is conjuring up criticism from across the nation, mainly because many believe that the Brewers could have waited a few years to make the deal, but now instead leave themselves open to Braun suffering a catastrophic injury.
The majority of the criticism is coming from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, all major cities. Fortunately for them, their hometown baseball teams have the luxury of waiting until players hit the open market to throw money at them. The Brewers, a small-market team, do not have this luxury. The Brewers can not rely on a player liking Milwaukee enough to stay here when millions more dollars are being shoved in his face by another city. C.C. Sabathia said that he really liked Milwaukee, until he saw how much New York was offering. Prince Fielder has confessed his love for Milwaukee, but is not willing to pass up the huge payday awaiting him in a bigger city if he leaves.
The contract will make Braun the second-highest paid outfielder in the history of the league, but that is not as extreme as it sounds. By the time that contract kicks in, there are almost certainly going to be bigger contracts handed to outfielders by other teams. The price for a starting outfielder goes up every year, and Braun's contract involves only a slightly higher guaranteed salary than the other big contracts handed out this past winter. As mentioned though, those contracts also started this year, while this contract will not start until after the 2014 season. To be fair, Braun's numbers and popularity do suggest that he should be one of the top paid outfielders in the league. He has been an all-star in every full season he has played, and he has won the Silver Slugger award as the best slugger at his position.
As a franchise, the Brewers are throwing themselves on Braun's shoulders. Braun has been an excellent producer on the offensive side of the ball, and fans flock to get a glimpse of him. With the core group of Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Braun locked up for years to come, the Brewers should be in good shape.
One potential downside to this contract is that it cripples the likelihood that Fielder will be staying around beyond this season. Though this seems like a big blow, the Brewers had already come to terms with the fact that Fielder was not going to stay around. The Brewers did not have enough money to throw at Fielder, so why keep it laying around in hopes that he changes his mind and wants to be a Brewer for life? This scenario was as likely to happen as me getting a job as Sports Editor for the Journal Sentinel tomorrow. Fielder is as good as gone, but Braun wanted to stay.
Fans have been showing up to Brewers games more than ever the past few years, and inking the fan favorite for nine total years isn't such a bad move. The Brewers did not drastically overpay Braun, if at all. Nor did they make the mistake of making the negotiations public (like so many teams have been doing recently).
At the end of the day, the main reason the Brewers and Braun agreed to this deal is because they both liked their future if the other was in the picture. This contract was a reward to Braun, and a showing of appreciation for his love of Milwaukee (and his agreeing to a very team friendly contract after his breakout rookie season).

1 comment:

  1. Roberto always has a fresh take on things!