Most baseball people seem to be talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers as the only possible landing point for Ryan Braun in a trade this winter. But the Dodgers, even though they almost completed a deal for Braun last August, may not end up being the best match for Milwaukee going at the moment. The Dodgers have more pressing matters than trading for Braun right now. They currently have only 2 infielders under contract, Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager, and they need to fill, by my estimation, at least 4 pitching vacancies between their rotation and bullpen. First order of business for LA is to try to get Justin Turner locked up. After that, they will probably look at signing or trading for a starting pitcher or two. They also seem to be interested in trading for MIN 2B Brian Dozier to fill their starting spot there. Some of the prospects traded might be guys the Brewers were hoping to get in any Braun deal. All of this leads me to believe the Dodgers may not be as anxious to discuss a trade until they can fill some of the glaring holes in their 25 man roster and that by the time they come around, Milwaukee may not be as interested if some of their targets have been shipped out.
Which brings me to San Diego. The Padres are one of the teams Ryan cannot block a trade to and even though they may not be looking to compete in 2017, they may still be looking at bringing in a player to inject some excitement back into their fan base after several disappointing seasons. I actually like the Padres farm system better than the Dodgers. SD's top 10 is a really strong bunch of players with currently four prospects in the overall top 100 and several others, like Cal Quanttrill, Eric Lauer and Michael Gettys, possibly being added to that list soon.
Gettys is a guy who could really turn out to be a star. There were a lot of concerns about his offense coming out in 2014, but his second go around in A ball this year led to a .305/.363/.442 slash line. If Gettys really has found the ability to get on base at a .350+ clip, his SB totals should be very respectable as he progresses through the minors. He's blessed with great speed and already stole 33 bases in 49 attempts last season. Gettys is also one of the best defensive OFs in minor league baseball right now, at least in the lower minors. In 282 career games he has accumulated 41 outfield assists. His plus speed and defense gives him a very high floor as a potential gold glove caliber CF at the major league level. CF is a position of organizational depth for Milwaukee right now, but it never hurts to have another toolsy OF with superstar potential, especially considering that's exactly what we would be trading away.
I'd love for the Brewers to swing a deal with the Padres if they are serious about moving Braun. Obviously it would first take SD to be interested in paying Ryan's contract and adding a veteran player while they are in rebuilding mode, but the prospect haul coming back from SD might be even better than what it could be from LA. The Brewers may have to eat some of Braun's salary in the first year to ensure they would get the players they really coveted back in the deal, but Milwaukee is fully capable of absorbing cash in the first year due to their overall financial health right now. I think it is increasingly less likely that Braun gets dealt to LA, due to the factors I outlined at the top. So that means we may have to explore the other teams on Ryan's trade list if we are going to move him prior to his 10-5 rights kicking in.