The Milwaukee Brewers (31-39) haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, and that doesn’t figure to change this season. While the Brewers claim they won’t be sellers and unload Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun before the trade deadline, well, let’s just see what happens.
“Well, they’re definitely sellers in the sense that they’re not going anywhere this year,” FOX MLB analyst C.J. Nitkowski said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Now, if they think they’re going to be competitive next year, if they think they’ve seen enough from young players and they think they can get things turned around pretty quickly, then you probably don’t want to move a guy like Jonathan Lucroy, who’s got an unbelievably team-friendly contract. I think it’s right around $5.5 million next year. You can’t get that kind of player for those kind of dollars, so if they think they have a chance next year, then they try to hang on to him.”
Lucroy, 30, is hitting .311 with 10 home runs, 35 RBIs, 14 doubles and 35 runs this season. Braun, 32, is hitting .315 with 12 home runs, 37 RBIs, 13 doubles and 29 runs.
“The issue is both of those guys are going to be in high demand,” Nitkowski said, “which means you can really replenish your system and get close-to-the-big-leagues type of players – maybe multiple of that group – that are much more affordable and cost-controlled going forward that you’d like to get your hands on. So if somebody comes along with the right deal, I can’t imagine that they turn it down, especially on the Ryan Braun contract.”
Beyond the $19 million he is earning this season, Braun is under contract for four more years at a guaranteed $76 million. His contract also stipulates that he can only be traded to certain teams without his permission. Among the the teams: the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Padres, Marlins and Diamondbacks.
Braun lives in Los Angeles, which explains his openness to play in California or nearby Arizona, and he played college ball at the University of Miami.
“The Ryan Braun contract is not a good one for them,” Nitkowski said. “If they can get out from under that and save those dollars, I think they’d be smart to do that.”