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Report: No market for Ryan Braun this summer, but Domingo Santana has drawn “considerable interest”

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It could be an interesting winter for the suddenly competitive Milwaukee Nine.

Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers have spent this year as an unexpected competitor, both in their own division and in the National League Wild Card hunt. As a result, the team has been a buyer in trades instead of a seller, picking up Anthony Swarzak, Jeremy Jeffress, and Neil Walker over the last month in the hope of strengthening their chances down the stretch.

Though David Stearns has said that any “selling” conversations he had this summer didn’t get very far, that didn’t stop teams from inquiring about some of the talented players on his major league roster. One player who reportedly sparked plenty of widespread interest is right fielder Domingo Santana, at least according to Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports:

Domingo Santana has slowed a bit, but he’s drawn considerable interest elsewhere, and considering the Brewers’ great outfield stash, could be a winter trade candidate.

Santana, who only just turned 25 earlier this month, has been one of Milwaukee’s most integral bats all season long. Fully healthy this year after battling injury in 2016, Santana is starting to make good on the promise he showed as a former top-100 prospect. In 121 games this season, the right-handed slugger has slashed .270/.365/.467 with 20 home runs and 11 steals, good for a 114 wRC+.

Domingo isn’t exactly highly-regarded on defense, grading out at -2 Defensive Runs Saved and -4.2 UZR in 981.1 innings in right field this season. That, along with Milwaukee’s high volume of advanced outfield depth, could make the slugger expendable in the right circumstance. It’s difficult to imagine Stearns and co. shopping a talented young player with another four seasons of club control after 2017. The Brewers aren’t really at the point any longer where subtracting from the MLB team for the sole purpose of adding prospects makes much sense. If the Brewers could use Santana as the centerpiece in a deal for a controllable, top-end starting pitcher, however, that may be of interest to a club that was in the running for both Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana this summer. An American League team where Santana could DH part-time might be the best fit for his skill set.

For that to happen, though, Slingin’ Stearns and the Brewers would need to feel comfortable with a primary outfield mix of Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Lewis Brinson, and Brett Phillips going into next season. Utilityman Hernan Perez could factor into that group as well, as could Jonathan Villar if the team decides against using him as the regular second baseman heading into 2018. Kyle Wren has been a solid performer at AAA Colorado Springs for the last two years despite not ranking as a top prospect and could also figure into the outfield equation if need be.

While Santana is someone who could perhaps be on the move this winter, according to Heyman it doesn’t appear as though Ryan Braun will be going anywhere anytime soon:

There was no trade market for Ryan Braun in a year where even cheap, great hitters had little market, but one scout noted, “He can still mash when healthy”.

The trade market for position players was less than robust this summer, so it comes as little surprise that there was limited interest in Braun, who has battled some nagging injuries this year. The 33 year old has played in just 72 games this season and is still owed about another $60 mil over the next three seasons, including the buyout on his 2021 team option. Braun’s contract undoubtedly cleared revocable waivers, as Tom Haudricourt recently alluded to. He’s also got a full no-trade clause as a 10-5 player.

As Heyman mentioned, though, The Hebrew Hammer has still produced when he’s been on the field; he’s batting .281/.351/.513 with 13 homers and 8 steals and has registered hard contact in a whopping 42.7% of his 296 plate appearances this season. He’s also an important veteran leader in an inexperienced locker room and was one of two players, along with Matt Garza, who lead the recent “players only” meeting. So it’s not exactly the worst thing in the world if Ryan Braun remains in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs