Head-scratcher

Posted by Steve

When I first heard the rumblings today of a Braun extension, my thought was something like, ‘He must have tacked on a couple years and moved money around to get paid more right now.’ A deal that extends him through 2020 is shocking.

After the obligatory ‘If nothing else, it’s nice that a star is willing to stay in Milwaukee’ reaction, this extension is a huge head-scratcher to me. I was talking with Dan a bit about it today, and we don’t seem to be eye-to-eye on this, so maybe he’ll come in with a dissenting opinion… But overall, I’m not a fan of this move from the Brewers’ perspective.

When Braun signed his first deal, my thought was, ‘Great deal for the Brewers, but Braun might regret this.’ With this deal, my reaction is the exact opposite.

My question is: where was the rush on this? It’s not like he was an impending free agent. Braun had one of the biggest bargain contracts in all of baseball, and there was four years left on it after this season! They already had him through his prime years.

Braun was set to become a free agent after his age 31 season. At that time, what could he expect on the open market? It’s hard to project what the market will be like in 2016, but Jayson Werth just got 7 years/$126 million as a 31 year-old corner outfielder. Of course, that deal was mocked throughout baseball as about two years longer than anyone else would have offered. Who knows, but maybe something like 5 years for $100-110 mil would be what Braun could get at that time–but that’s on the open market! Looking at figures laid out in the JS, and subtracting the $10 million signing bonus, the Brewers guaranteed Braun $95 million for his age 32-36 seasons! In other words, they paid near market value... five years early!

The Brewers had an incredible value in Braun, and now there’s the distinct possibility that he eventually becomes an albatross. If you think his defense now is bad (you should), then how bad is it likely to be in his mid-30s? What if he gets hurt? The Brewers just took a completely unnecessary and huge risk to ink a player for his declining years when they already had him through his prime.

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7 responses to “Head-scratcher

  1. Who do you think initiated this deal? Was it the Brewers going to Braun or vice versa? How does this effect Fielder? I would think that this pretty much damns him into signing somewhere else next year.

  2. Apparently, it was Braun.

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/120390364.html#

    Fielder was all but gone anyway, but I suppose this probably seals it…. Although Braun’s salary isn’t really changing much in the next four years from what it was. Almost all of this money comes in after 2015.

  3. “In other words, they paid near market value… five years early!”

    But in fairness, we don’t have any idea what the market will be then. It seems likely that it won’t come down but rather go up this deal may end up being a bargain even in the future.

  4. You’re right, we don’t know what the market might look like, but it’s definitely not smart to give someone a huge contract just banking on salaries going up. It could be a bargain, but it’s also a sizable risk. With the previous contract, it was definitely a bargain. This one is an unknown, and if something happens to him, it’s a franchise-crippler.

    I don’t hate it, but I definitely am not thrilled. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have done it myself.

  5. In his few years with the Brewers it’s pretty clear that Braun enjoys the limelight, he likes being the star. He could obviously play for a better team or in a bigger market, but yet he chose the Milwaukee Brewers for what could be his entire playing career. I’m gonna go out and say that he saw the opportunity to be the main attraction for a team and jumped at it, guaranteeing his status as the Top Dog in Milwaukee.

  6. Definitely. And not many people get ten-year contracts, either. It’s great for Braun, and I’m glad he wants to be in Milwaukee. He’s a great player who looks like he’s on his way to an MVP season.

    I just didn’t see a need for this, but oh well.

  7. Pingback: It’s good to be bad | Brewers! Brewers! Keep Turnin' Up the Heat!

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