May. 30, 2016
Top 3 Fits for Ryan Braun
So, this still has not happened yet, and may never happen, but former MVP outfielder Ryan Braun is the last big trade chip from the Milwaukee Brewers, and is by far the longest tenured Brewer. Since SP's Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada were traded prior to the 2015 regular season, the Brewers have gotten rid of all but five players that play on the 2014 team that once seemed to contend for the postseason. Those five are 2B Scooter Gennett, SP Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta and Matt Garza, along with Braun. It's amazing to think that at this time two years ago, we were thinking about how we were going to bounce-back from that dreadful collapse in September 2014. Now, we are wondering where Ryan Braun will go, and if he will be here in April. Assuming Braun eventually gets traded, here are my top three fits for Braun.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers
With the presumed loss of 1B Mike Napoli, and outfielders Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis, the Indians have money and space on their roster to field Braun in the everyday lineup. He likely would alternate playing DH and left field, but he is a bat that can give Cleveland a deadly top six. Imagine a Ramirez, Kipnis, Lindor, Braun, Santana, Brantley lineup with the pitching Cleveland has. It would probably require 1B Bobby Bradley, as the Brewers lack corner infield depth in the farm.
As for Texas, this is just more of a hypothetical, and a very unlikely circumstance. Texas is losing a solid portion of it's lineup, and they need to keep pace with Houston. Braun in the lineup would push Ryan Rua to the bench, and give Texas a strong 1-9 yet again. It's unlikely, but in a way, with Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy there already, it would be like the new Milwaukee Brewers.
3) TORONTO BLUE JAYS
If they don't resign Jose Bautista and/or Michael Saunders, I'd hope to think that they would start looking at Ryan Braun. Toronto still has a good lineup, with Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, but adding Ryan Braun to it would keep them among the race for the crowded AL East. Ezequiel Carrera does not cut it, and they are already stuck with Justin Smoak at first, so they need at least one more bat. Toronto doesn't have the greatest farm system, but they have 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr to fill in a corner infield hole, and SP Sean Reid-Foley is in the top 75.
2) BALTIMORE ORIOLES
This all depends on what happens with Mark Trumbo, but even with him re-signing, the Orioles may want to take a look at Braun. Having Kim and Rickard in the corners, with Mancini at DH is not good, and this team is built around scoring enough runs to take a lead so CL Zach Britton can finish the game (at least in the regular season). Baltimore has huge holes in the outfield next to Adam Jones, and even with Trumbo they might not be filled. Baltimore should also feel like it is falling back behind Boston and Toronto, so this move would help. As far as the farm goes, Baltimore has a lower level system, but their top prospects are pitchers as well as C Chance Sisco. Without a definite future backstop in the minors, a play for Sisco may be a good move for the Brewers.
1) LA DODGERS
The Dodgers have been linked to Braun since August, when a proposed Braun for Yasiel Puig swap was introduced. With the amount of outfielders in the farm system (that are in the top 100 prospect rankings) to go along with Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton, I really don't think the Brewers need another one just yet. If I'm the Brewers, I go for SP Jose De Leon or 1B Cody Bellinger first, and if that doesn't work maybe try to get a few mid-ranking prospects like a combination of SP Jordan Sheffield and C Austin Barnes. The Dodgers are in it to win it, and a trade for Braun proves that