Ryan Braun received a $105 million, five-year contract extension that runs through 2020 (with a mutual option for 2021), and that has plenty of ramifications for the Brewers.
For one, Prince Fielder might be left out as the Brewers continue to lock up their core over the long term. The first baseman reaches free agency next year, and he might want to test the waters instead of sticking around. Especially if Braun’s contract soaks up too big a chunk of the budget.
On the other hand, the Brewers’ willingness to hand over that kind of extension could show that the team is serious about spending money in order to win.
Regardless of what happens to Fielder after this season, the fact is that by locking up another young player for a long time, the Brewers are showing that they plan to keep their core together for several years to come, with the idea of going after postseason success.
It’s a bit of a gamble, because Braun get could hurt or underperform. But the rewards in this case appear to outweigh the risks. Keeping one of the best hitters in the NL under contract for five more years is a smart gamble.
Even if it might mean losing another one of the NL’s best hitters.