Ryan Braun and Yasiel Puig were reportedly about 20 minutes from being traded for each other at baseball’s August 31 trade deadline. While time ran out on the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers making that swap, the move is likely to be completed this offseason according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
Braun, a six-time All-Star who owns a severely-tainted National League MVP award, will turn 33 this offseason but has turned in a solid year at the plate. The five-time Silver Slugger winner has helped bring Milwaukee two playoff berths during his 11 seasons in town and was the face of the franchise briefly. Then he became a pariah after his positive performance-enhancing drug test, vehement denials, attack on the test collector, ridiculous celebratory press conference after his suspension was overturned and then connection to the Biogenesis scandal. The weak apology he offered after a lengthy suspension for the Biogenesis scandal just made things worse.
Meanwhile, Puig entered the major leagues in 2013 and exploded like a stick of dynamite. He posted a 4.1 fWAR in 104 games and followed that up with a 5.1 fWAR and an All-Star appearance in 2014. Since then the 25-year-old has fallen off dramatically and was recently sent down to Triple-A. He has since been called back up but is clearly not in the Dodgers’ plans moving forward.
The proposed deal would have sent Puig, injured starter Brandon McCarthy and prospects to Milwaukee in exchange for Braun. Brain is making $19.5 million this year, while Puig and McCarthy are making a combined $16.5 million.
Braun is currently hitting .309 with 27 home runs and 82 RBIs to go along with an fWAR of 3.2. He’s a terrible defensive outfielder and is due $53 million over the next three seasons. His contract also has a $20 million mutual option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout. The trade makes sense for the Brewers since they have no need for a corner outfielder making that much money when they are in rebuild mode.
Braun grew up a Dodgers fan and lives in Los Angeles during the offseason, so it’s a natural fit if he can continue to hit the ball.
Even if this deal somehow falls apart, it’s a safe bet that both Braun and Puig will be in new uniforms next season.