Editors note: Before I start, this is just me speculating where the Brewers can deal outfielder Ryan Braun. No baseball insider has mentioned this on Twitter or in the press. This is just me taking a look at the reasons why dealing Braun to the Giants makes sense for both teams.
It is a well known fact that the Brewers are in rebuild mode. They have traded away several players over the last 4-5 months, including Aramis Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez, among others. When a team rebuilds, they trade as many assets as possible, reducing payroll and fielding a team that will guarantee a top 5-6 draft pick in the next few MLB drafts. Basically, they are tanking. Trading Braun would be a big step in reducing payroll as he is scheduled to make the following over the next five seasons:
2016: $19 million
2017: $19 million
2018: $19 million
2019: $18 million
2010: $16 million
So, his salary will actually drop in the latter part of his contract. With the qualifying offer right around $16 million right now, his contract is reasonable, especially considering he put up a 2.8 fWAR last season. With the cost of a win rising, he still provides value even at his current salary.
It is also no secret that the Giants need a left fielder, and another power bat in their lineup. Last season, they hit just 136 home runs, ranking 27th in MLB in that category. The Giants could use his power bat and are never shy to take on a player in their 30s. They like veteran players too. Marlon Byrd says hi. Tim Hudson too. The list goes on and on.
To get this deal done, maybe the Brewers eat some of Braun's salary, or maybe a lot of his salary, in return for a solid prospect like infielder Christian Arroyo. Or, they eat none of his contract and take back an org player like Jarrett Parker. Either way, the trade helps both teams. The Giants get a middle of the order hitting outfielder. The Brewer shed salary and make room in right field for young power hitting prospect Domingo Santana.
The Giants lineup would look like this after the deal:
Angel Pagan, CF
Matt Duffy, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Buster Posey, C
Hunter Pence, RF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Joe Panik, 2B
Brandon Crawford, SS
That would be a pretty damn good lineup. Braun still hits for average and power and stole 24 bases last season, so he can still run the bases. He plays hurt quite a bit, so he fits nicely in the Giants clubhouse.
So, there you go. A trade that makes sense for both teams, I think. I wouldn't like it as a Dodgers fan, but the Giants have plenty of money coming off the books this offseason and will look to improve their team via trade and free agency. They are already linked to free agent starters David Price and Zack Greinke, and also are looking to replace Marlon Byrd in the outfield.
Again, this is just pure speculation on my part. Let's discuss in the comments section below.