One Possible Trade Target Is a Liar and a Cheat and a Hell of a Hitter — Ryan Braun, We’re Looking at You!

Jimmy:

He’s a sanctimonious, litigious blowhard, now widely reviled as a lying cheat by his former fans. He’s owed big bucks until 2021. And, yes, I think he should become the Mets top trade target this off-season. I am talking, of course, about Ryan Braun. What do you think, Mike?

ryan-braun-meme

Mike:

Braun has gone from being a hero in Milwaukee to a villain. Plus he will be 30 years old next season and now has been proven to have a PED past. Many years, and dollars, remain on his contract. All of that says walk away, maybe run away.

wheelbarrow-of-money-520x340But Braun has always hit. And we need hitters, and do not have tremendous organizational depth to acquire it. I wonder how large of a market is there right now for Ryan Braun? And given what has transpired, can we acquire him at a bargain price? Because you have to have an open mind. There is a price at which I become very interested. He would fit very well in our every day lineup.

Jimmy:

His presence would dramatically alter the lineup. I don’t need to read you the stats, but here’s his HR/RBI numbers, 2007-2012:

  • 34/97
  • 37/106
  • 32/114
  • 25/103
  • 33/111
  • 41/112

He’s been good for 35+ doubles annually. The career slash line: .312/.374/.564. Twice he’s stolen 30 bases. Three times he’s been top 3 in MVP voting. The glove is good.

Okay, true, he’s entering his age-30 season. The PEDs are gone (unless he’s found a good masking agent!). Let’s look at the contract, according to Cot’s:

  • 2014: $10M
  • 2015: $12M
  • 2016: $19M
  • 2017: $19M
  • 2018: $19M
  • 2019: $18M
  • 2020: $16M
  • 2021: $15M mutual option ($4M buyout)

I don’t think the “bargain price” mentality gets it done. Other teams will be fishing these waters. How’s this for a conversation starter: Ike Davis, Wilmer Flores, and a pitcher, but which one? Assuming Wheeler and Harvey are off the table, would you also add Syndergaard and Montero to our “no fly” list? What about Gee? What about Parnell? Still too much?

Mike:

How much of the contract are we absorbing? If it is all of it, I’m not giving up as much as you are suggesting. PEDs or not he turns 30 in November and the contract is backloaded. If we take the entire contract, I’m not going crazy. Other teams will be interested, but I do not expect a bidding war. Braun’s past and contract devalues him. So, if the assumption is the Mets take that contract, then no Gee, Montero, Syndergaard, or Parnell. They can have deGrom, Davis, and Flores. If we are spending big money we can also sign guys like Abreu, Choo, or Ellsbury and give up nothing.

If the Brewers pick up money that is a different market. For now I’ll assume if they can’t get anyone else to pay him they keep him in Milwaukee.

Jimmy:

Good point about the contract. Given the recent love affair with Marlon Byrd, and the mentality of New Yorkers in general, I don’t see the PED thing as a big issue. We’re a forgiving bunch and we’re not emotionally invested, like the fans in Milwaukee.

Mike:

nba_a_spreewell11_600Latrell Sprewell tried to kill his coach, was choking the guy to death, and he was a fan favorite here. As long as you don’t date a Kardashian, anything goes around here.

Jimmy:

Exactly! Spree could take guys off the dribble; we needed that! And here comes Ryan Braun, the Hebrew Hammer. Pair him with Wright in the heart of the order and that allows the Mets to go with a patchwork quilt at CF & RF. They’d need to fix SS, of course. Sign a veteran pitcher to plug into the rotation. It even allows you to let Duda/Satin play first base. Braun strikes me as the perfect fit — and, yes, there’s something reminiscent of Keith Hernandez, circa 1984, about this opportunity. He’s a great player, he’s available, and he might be under-valued.

Mike:

I agree, and there is a lot of similarities. People look at that trade now, Rick Ownbey and Neil Allen for Keith Hernandez, and can’t believe it. But Keith was central in the cocaine trials, and St. Louis is in the heartland. Hernandez was also going to become a free agent, and would need to get paid.

The Cardinals looked at all of this and decided to dump the guy and were willing to take a discounted trade. If they wanted any of Strawberry, Darling, Dykstra or Gooden in return we can assume he would never have become a Met.

Jimmy:

Assuming Tulowitski is off the table, does he top your wish list?

Mike:

Not at all. All things being equal I rather have Cargo or Stanton, to name two names. I am not dying to acquire a 30 year old PED lying cheat. But Braun is intriguing as there might be a chance to “win” a deal. For me, if that is not possible, I move to other targets. He comes with risks and headaches.

I’m not paying retail for that.

Jimmy:

Well, all things are rarely equal. The cost in prospects for either of those two guys will be sky high. Sandy would have to put serious pitching on the table. Do we have it to spare? And those fellows will want to get paid, too. Should make for an interesting winter.

RyanBraun_crop_340x234

 

 

 

 

 

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19 comments

  1. Eraff says:

    As for Trade Pieces—Ike doesn’t seem to be a Trade Piece to me…. who’s trading for an arb eligible 200/250/350 Lug—he happens to be an over rated fielder, and he DOESN’T speak French either!!!

    My gut says the BREWS keep Braun… They’ll trace him if you provide VERY Fair value— Sydergaard.

    I don’t believe Montero is at that profile—I believe he’s a “maybe guy”…..Synder is a top Prospect EVRYWHERE—he’s your bait. If i’m fishing with THAT, I’m looking at Stanton.

    • I agree that the Brewers could retain Ryan Braun, though I’m just not clear about the internal pressures there. That he’s been calling season ticket holders to apologize suggests they intend to keep him around. It also reminds me of Cleon Jones, M. Donald Grant, and the prolonged humiliation of a former star.

      But I digress: My sense is that he won’t come cheap. However, I don’t see a team giving up a Syndergaard-level pitching prospect in exchange for that huge contract and those question marks. Could be wrong. But who is trading that level pitching prospect these days? He’ll be at AAA in 2014, ready for his MLB debut in July. I want to keep him. People tend to dismiss this nowadays, but I don’t see the Mets giving that kind of pitcher to a team they face 18 times a season. Likewise, I believe the Marlins would be disinclined to move Stanton to THIS New York team.

      Ike Davis, in a new place, for one year, is an interesting “get” for a team like the Brewers. I would not entirely dismiss his appeal as part of a package. Flores just turned 22 and he’s blocked with the Mets. A stud? Not likely. But again, as part of a package, a team might see him as an interesting solution at 3B or 2B. He’s certainly not expensive.

      In the end, it may be that teams are unwilling to give what the Brewers require to move Braun. They don’t have to trade him. But the Brewers have many holes, they owe him a LOT of money, so it’s equally possible they would move him in the right deal. Does Bobby Parnell make it attrractive? Or too costly? The team supposedly has “excess” arms at the lower levels. Do the Brewers pick from a list of 5 guys at A-level?

  2. Eraff says:

    BTW—I maintain that they need a LH Professional Bat— I’m guessing that Ethier may be available and decently priced….. I can live with his flaws. He’s a good fielder and he provides some LH oomph and legitimacy….and he’s NOW hitting in a worse place than Citi.

  3. Patrick Boegel says:

    If they are willing to dump him, I’d at least sit on the other end of that call, other than that, he is more trouble than he would likely be worth.

    • What trouble, Patrick? Before the PEDs stuff, he was Milwaukee’s answer to David Wright. Beloved. Three times in the top 3 for MVP. For me, the salary is not an issue, it’s just money, it’s just what those guys get paid. A good team nowadays has four guys earning that money. I don’t know Braun to be a malcontent. He used PEDs, got caught, lied about it, and a lot of innocent illusions were shattered. That’s the only reason why he might be available. Now if we are talking about ability, and results on the field, I could see doubts about his post-PEDS career as being a valid objection. You think his numbers would shrink significantly. You think he won’t produce. Is that it? The contract allows you to buy him out at age 37, so I am not particularly worried about length. The other objection I personally understand would be that the price is too high in terms of players. I know it was a quick sentence tossed off by you, so I’m asking: What would be too much trouble about adding Ryan Braun to the NY Mets?

  4. Alan K. says:

    I’d definitely inquire about what it would take to get Braun. Unless you believe that everything he has accomplished is due to PED use as opposed to skill , he certainly is more attractive than the FA options.

  5. RAFF says:

    Braun has 7 yrs. and well over $100million coming to him,– including options/buyout…So, we’re talking about trading young players and taking on a huge long-term obligation for a guy who’s going to be 30 and has PED-Influenced Stats??? NO THANKS!

    • Michael Geus says:

      You seem more sure of what the Brewers would want back then I am. It will come back to whether they decide they can keep him around, or if he just has to go.

      I agree that if the market for Braun is top flight talent and taking on his full contract we should be out.

      I also think all other major league teams will concur with that line of thinking. That leaves the Brewers two options, sell low or hold.

      They certainly might hold, but I can also see them selling low. If they do I hope we explore that market.

  6. IB says:

    Don’t give a damn about the contract obligations. Fred says he’s got the money, so it’s time to show it. Braun’s a stud. PED’s or no PED’s, and if I’m any judge of human nature (my own included) all will be forgiven when he’s
    protecting Wright in the order and the run production starts winning ballgames. I’d take him in a heartbeat. Big time.

    • Michael Geus says:

      I agree 100% that if he hits, no one here will care about his past. Hell, Byrd just came off a suspension. Nobody cared.

      In Milwaukee there are clubhouse ramifications with Braun that an acquiring team will not have to deal with. He lied to a lot of guys faces in that clubhouse, a new environment cleans that particular slate.

      The Brewers are in a tough spot with him.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        I guess in limited defense of Byrd (and personally I was not particularly thrilled he was ever here, but sure liked the Mets parlaying him into a prospect) he had a plausible story and yet did not skirt the suspension or fight it.

        Braun is going to have bigger problems than just Milwaukee. His stance was pretty bold.

  7. RAFF says:

    I feel a lot of you are soft-pedaling the PED issue. Guys who used PEDS, especially those who have continued to use them after testing became more prevalent and more effective, use PED’s Because PED’s Work! There’s no way of knowing what “goods” you’d be getting. There’s no discount which would adequately cover 7 years and a precipitous drop in production. The Mets should steer clear of Braun.

  8. Patrick Boegel says:

    I had a really nice response just wiped out by my browser.

    I just have significant fears that we’d be paying for maybe at best 80% of what Braun is/was. And a decrease in performance of say 20% takes an all world all-star from a .950 OPS in offensive production down to .760 a range the Mets seem to excel at developing, mediocre ceilings.

    Now granted that number is very arbitrary on my part, but there is a reason these guys are willing to risk their reputation and poison their bodies in ways the future can only tell them for cash today. Probably not to get a couple of HRs here and there.

    So the best I can do is look at some of the more obvious cheaters in recent history. There are the blantant ones like Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez and Barry Bonds who all three very different players saw crazy things happen to their stats one year to the next, Bonds at what assuredly should have been the twilight of his career.

    Then you have the Manny Ramirez, when did it begin, his prime? Before hand? Seems likely to have been in prime and certainly there is something amiss about those mid 30s years when suddenly your numbers surge back to look as good or better than ones prime.

    So was Braun an MVP that just needed to mentally keep up with the Joneses? I suppose that is plausible. But it is equally plausible that he was a fraudulent talent from the start.

    Pedro Martinez, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and going back to the moons ago analogy Keith Hernandez all risks, all worth taking I think. Braun just feels like he is arriving with a Do Not Pass Go card in hand.

    7 years seems like a long time to watch the Wilpons not eat that deal if it blows up in their face.

  9. Eraff says:

    Jimmy— I didn’t say I WANT to trade Thor….on the other hand you Suggested IKE as a main piece in a trade…??? C’mon. Ike, Flores “and a Pitcher”…A PITCHER?…NOT Monetero or Thor… Pretend you’re trading Wright—you’re taking THAT?

    If we’re really talking about trading for Big Pieces, you’re gonna give up MUcho Young Talent–reality.

    • Michael Geus says:

      He now has tremendous baggage associated with him, including, as Patrick pointed out, valid concerns about his future production level.

      That doesn’t sound like David Wright to me at all.

    • Eraff, no, I did not suggest Ike Davis as a main piece. You might want to try reading that again. I suggested him as “a” possible piece in the package — to a team that could use a first baseman. As the post made clear, the name of the “pitcher,” or any additional players, was open to discussion. Because unlike you, I don’t actually know what it would take. Honestly, I’m not even sure what I would be willing to surrender. I would not give up Syndergaard. Wright and Braun are in very different situations right now. Again, the point of this conversation is that the Brewers are in a tricky situation with Braun — his value is diminished, there has been a fan backlash, there are valid concerns about his future production — and that if a team was willing to take on the entire contract, there might be an opportunity to pry him loose at a discounted rate.

  10. [...] Mike and I loosely discussed the pros and cons of a potential Ryan Braun deal. It struck me that I’d love to hear from the Brewer’s perspective. So I looked around [...]

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