Ryan Braun might be in for position change number three of his career. The third baseman turned left fielder turned right fielder is being discussed by Brewers management as a potential option to play first base, reports Tom Haudricourt at the Journal Sentinel.
Braun to first base has mostly only been talked about by us, the online contingent of Brewers fans. Internal discussions have taken place with the Brewers, however, giving credence to theories that Braun could give the team their first solid multi-year option at the position since Prince Fielder left.
Of course, saying the possibility has been discussed leaves the question of how serious those talks have been.
"I haven't talked enough with Doug about it to even know if there would a reason to do it," Roenicke was quoted as saying by the Journal Sentinel. "I think he's a good defender in the outfield, learning a new position that he picked up pretty fast. I think he'll continue to get better in right. We haven't approached (Braun) about it. It's just kind of what the needs are. We have Parra here now and we need to figure out what to do with him for next year."
So it could have been Roenicke and Doug at the urinals one day and one of them goes, 'y'know, I wonder what would happen if we played Brauny at first'. They would, of course, only call him Brauny. Or they may be extensive talks, coming up often in meetings.
If Braun were to move to first, that would leave Gerardo Parra as the most likely starter in right field next year. Thus, it could be a matter of which is better: The options to play first base or Parra? First base options are limited -- Matt Clark is perhaps the best internal choice while free agency is filled with underwhelming players like Michael Cuddyer, Billy Butler, and Mike Morse.
The Brewers and Braun are finishing up a disappointing year that saw the right fielder hit .269/.323/.457 while dealing with a badly injured thumb. Braun has never played first base before, but he couldn't play third base, either, and the organization kept him there for a time.
The most likely decision on this will probably be the Brewers keeping Braun in the outfield. He's looked fine there, and Roenicke, Melvin and co. seem to think highly of his defense in right. It's neat that the Brewers are at least willing to consider it enough to discuss the option, but unless Braun shows a desire to move back to the infield they'll probably just keep him in right.