Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brewers Extend Braun

The Milwaukee Brewers announced Thursday, they have agreed to a five-year extension with left fielder Ryan Braun. The contract, which locks up Braun through 2020, is for $105 million.

I think every Brewer fan would be lying if they said they saw this coming. The biggest flaw in this deal is Braun was already locked up cheaply through 2015 (age 32). Essentially, the risk just is too steep. Extending Braun an additional five years was just not that necessary.

Contrary to what you may think after reading this article, Ryan Braun is one of my favorite players. The point of this article is not to say Braun is a bad player, he isn't. The point is not to say this contract is a terrible waste of money, it isn't. However, the point of this article is to analyse the strategy the Brewers used in locking up their young superstar.

To start, let's look at where the Brewers and Ryan Braun stood prior to Thursday's extension. Braun had $40.5 million and five years remaining on his old contract, which Braun signed in 2008. Now of course, Braun would be worth more money when that contract would've ran out assuming he stayed healthy and kept a similar performance up.

The breakdown of this article is not saying the value isn't there. Again, if he stays healthy and keeps a similar performance level up, this is a bargain. Where my problem is with this deal is was it really necessary? Braun was already locked up through his prime at a very reasonable price. I question the reasoning in rushing to sign Braun for his age 33-37 seasons for $21 million annually.

The biggest problem with the signing is the things the Brewers just don't know. Sure, Braun's doesn't have a history riddled with injuries, but what's to say he's going to stay healthy throughout the entire contract. In addition, there has to be some concern about Braun's ability near the end of his career. Sure, we aren't talking the same risk of an Alfonso Soriano type contract, but that's not to say some uncertainty isn't there.

Could Braun remain an incredible hitter throughout the rest of his time with the Brewers, yes. Could Braun also fall off and have a large contract with average production near the end of his career? Yes. That's the problem with this deal. There is some reward if everything works out until the end. However, that reward doesn't outweigh the potential problems that could arise.

1 comment:

T.J. said...

Hey, Jon,

You should add a "Contact Jon", or "Ask John a Question" link on your page, because I have a question I'd like to hear your take on.

It's early in the season still. Yet the closeness of the NL Central leads me to this question:Is it the sign of parity of a bunch of great teams or a bunch of mediocre teams? We've seen some great efforts vs. other NL divisions (i.e. Brewers v. Phillies), and some horrendous ones (Brewers v. Nationals). We haven't really seen any of the top teams blow out one of the bottom teams in the division either (Pittsburgh man-handled Cincinnati). We have 5 of the top 8 teams in AVG in the league, yet we're also some of the worst in runners stranded and ERA. The Brewers so far have been the best rounded in hitting and pitching, yet we're .500. What does all this indicate so far?

The NL Central was pegged to be one of the divisions to watch this year, but does our division winner stand a chance to contend? Is it too early to tell? What does the division as a whole need to work on? Is it too difficult to dissect these stats and the strength of the division this early in the season?