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.