Some things to read while figuring it out.
It's not too often you can make big news by announcing something that won't start until 2016, but that's what the Brewers did yesterday by signing Ryan Braun to a five year, $105 million contract extension that will keep him as a Brewer through 2020 with a mutual option for 2021 (FanShot). Here's the financial breakdown: Braun gets $10 million as a signing bonus now, $19 million per season in 2016, 2017 and 2018, $18 million in 2019 and $16 million in 2020. There's also a mutual option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout. There's also deferred money involved, but those numbers are not available.
One of the first questions I asked upon hearing the news was "How did this come about?" I can see the logic involved in making a deal for both sides, but was surprised to hear that either side initiated talks this early. It turns out Braun started the conversation during spring training, and things progressed from there.
It's hard to develop an objective reaction to a deal involving a star player, this much money and such a distant timeframe, but Jordan did a good job of doing so in our reaction post.
As you might expect, reaction to this deal has been all over the place:
- Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus is comparing the deal to a ten year contract for a 27 year old Manny Ramirez, at a discounted rate.
- Howie Magner of Milwaukee Magazine says the deal makes Braun the Brewers' natural successor to Robin Yount.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America says "one of Ryan Braun's future teammates on the 2020 Brewers is sitting in an 8th grade classroom right now." Now we know how Craig Counsell spent his off day.
- Christina Kahrl of ESPN notes that the Brewers now have too much future money committed to reduce the payroll below the $80-90 million range in the immediate future.
- Scott Segrin of In-Between Hops says this contract improves the quality of the team as a business entity.
- Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar says "any time a small-market club can keep its best player through what looks like the rest of his career, it's a very good thing for baseball."
- The Bucky Channel says "I'm firmly starting to believe that Mark Attanasio is the greatest thing that ever happened to the Milwaukee Brewers."
- Danny Knobler of CBS says he understands why "eyebrows are being raised around the game," but also understands how dangerous it could have been for the Brewers to wait until free agency was approaching to work out a new deal.
- R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus says "One has to admire the Brewers' moxie and commitment to keeping their star players in town, but at the same time, one has to wonder if this - like the Troy Tulowitzki extension - will appear overzealous before the new deal even kicks in."
- Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs says "If they're (the Brewers) not betting on significant inflation affecting the market in the next four years, then their motives become a bit more questionable."
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today says there's no way the Brewers can afford to keep both Braun and Fielder.
- Adam McCalvy says Braun's contract has little to do with Fielder's situation.
- Keith Law called the deal "Totally unnecessary risk. Great player, but this is mostly downside for the club."
- Brewers Daily says "Extending Braun an additional five years was just not that necessary."
- Keep Turning Up the Heat! says, "The Brewers just took a completely unnecessary and huge risk to ink a player they already had through his prime to keep him for his declining years."
- Miller Park Drunk is upset because...maybe I'd better just let him explain it.
On any other off day, either one of the following two stories would have qualified as big news. First, the Brewers made a flurry of roster moves yesterday, optioning Mike McClendon back to Nashville, activating LaTroy Hawkins off the DL, outrighting George Kottaras off of the 40 man roster and moving Zack Greinke from Brevard County to Nashville, where he's expected to start on Sunday. (FanShot). A Girl's View of the Brewers, much like my wife, is going to miss the Grecian Sensation.
The Brewers weren't done, though: this morning they also placed Nyjer Morgan on the DL with his deep thigh bruise and announced plans to add Brandon Boggs to the roster before tonight's game (FanShot). As one might expect, @Tony_Plush has a three part reaction, and it's well worth reading.
Yesterday's flurry of offseason activity quickly turned the Mark Attanasio-Dodger rumors into a sidenote. He told reporters that he's "committed to Milwaukee" at yesterday's press conference.
Back on the field, the Brewers resume play tonight in the thick of the NL Central race. Steve Gardner of USA Today compared the division to the 70's cartoon "Wacky Races," compared the Brewers to the Slag Brothers, and listed them at 3:1 odds to win.
Kameron Loe remains one of the Brewers' more interesting storylines, and he leads all NL players with 11 appearances in the Brewers' first 18 games. MLB Depth Charts listed Loe among this week's Relievers on the Rise.
In the minors:
- Brewerfan.net has released their new Power 50, with Wily Peralta taking over the top spot.
- Baseball America is reporting the Brewers have released 2010 12th round pick John Bivens, an outfielder. He hit just .164/.282/.224 between Arizona and Helena last season.
- Manny Parra made another rehab appearance for Nashville last night, pitching a perfect inning on 12 pitches. Ten of those pitches were strikes.
- The affiliates went 2-1 last night, and Mike Rivera hit a pinch hit, two run home run to lead Nashville over New Orleans 8-7. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- One has to assume Rivera faces an uncertain future with the organization at this point. With Martin Maldonado already in Nashville and George Kottaras on his way, Rivera is unlikely to see much time (if he maintains his roster spot) in the coming weeks.
- Meanwhile, Wisconsin was rained out in Burlington last night, meaning they've been postponed for three straight days.
Mets: Returned Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus to the Blue Jays.
Around the NL Central:
- The Reds beat the Diamondbacks 7-4 to remain in first place.
- The Cardinals shut out the Nationals 5-0, and open a series against the Reds this weekend.
- The Marlins finished off a sweep of the Pirates, winning 9-5.
- The Mets beat the Astros 9-1, preventing Houston's first sweep of the season.
The Cubs and Brewers were off yesterday, so here are today's updated standings:
In former Brewers: On Saturday I mentioned former Brewer Jim Lonborg, who was involved in two of the more complicated trades in franchise history. I mentioned the deals to MLB Trade Trees, and they made a great graphic showing the players coming to the Brewers in deals involving Lonborg and Tommy Harper.
Today in baseball economics: The Padres are playing the 2011 season without a deal in place to televise games for next season. At the moment it looks like they're planning to leave their current TV partner and accept an offered 20-year deal from Fox, believed to be worth around $17-22 million annually.
It's relevant to nothing Brewer-related, but Amazin' Avenue has my favorite graphic of the day: A bar chart showing how often the Mets (and their opponents) score when reaching various bases. If someone wanted to make a similar graph for BCB, I'd gladly find a slot on the front page for it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to fill this cup.