Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brewers extend Braun to 2020

By Nicole
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In a somewhat inexplicable move, the Brewers added five years to Ryan Braun's contract, putting him under club control til 2020. He had already signed a contract in May 2008 that had him in Milwaukee til 2015. The new contract keeps him in Milwaukee until he's 36.

The deal is 2008 was and is the biggest contract for a player with less than one year of Major League service.

The new deal is worth $105 million for five years, with a mutual option for a sixth year. It is the biggest deal in Brewers' history.

Including 2011, that means Braun will be making $145.5 million for 10 years.

The deal including $10 million in signing bonuses and though the details were not dicussed, also allows the club to defer some of the money, leaving them some wiggle room for signing free agents as they may need.

The deal is reportedly for $19 million in '16, '17 and '18, $18 million in 2019 and $16 million in 2020. The mutual option for 2021 is reportedly worth up to $20 million. There is a $4 million dollar buyout and the deal includes a no-trade clause.

Over the course of the whole ten year contract Braun is earning an average of $21 million per year, which is the second-highest ever salary for an outfielder, says ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney also reports that this deal makes Braun one of just seven ever players to be signed through age 36 while spending their entire career with their original team. The others are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones and Todd Helton.

Troy Tulowitsky, who was the runner up to Braun in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting, is the only other major leaguer signed through the 2020 season.

This deal will have some interesting implications for minor leaguers Khris Davis and Kentrail Davis - both left fielders. Clearly their path to the majors is blocked for the foreseeable future.

People get the impression that Braun is a big-city, bright lights sort of guy. Yes, he's a bit Hollywood, but don't put too much stock in that. I think he's quite fond of being a big fish in the little pond. For the kind of money he's going to command, he's looking at teams like the Cubs, the Bo-Sox or the Yankees. If he goes there, he's one of many. In Milwaukee, he's guaranteed to be the star. The Brewers have made the commitment to say "you're the face of our franchise."

In Milwaukee, Braun knows he'll always be top dog. He will always get a news clip or sound bite. He gets to have the ego-boost of being a star, but still gets to have his privacy. He likes to be able to say things like calling himself the Deputy GM without having it blown all out of proportion but intense media scrutiny, which would happen in bigger markets.

Think of Braun as this decade's Robin Yount.

 

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