Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun signed a five-year, $105-million contract extension Thursday, ensuring he will be with the team through the year 2020. Braun had already been under an eight-year pact for $45 million, which ran through 2015.
- Having a division rival hamstrung by a key contractual mistake is a critical advantage. Braun got the much better end of this deal. Whereas the extension he signed in early 2008 was very team-friendly, this one will pay Braun an average annual salary higher than any given to an outfielder in history, save Manny Ramirez. Braun is already a poor fielder and could need to move to first base eventually, meaning he would need to continue or even improve upon his stellar plate performance thus far in order to earn fair value.
- By signing Braun, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Rickie Weeks to long-term deals over the past year, and by acquiring two soon-to-be high-priced pitchers (Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum) this winter, the Brewers all but capitulated to Prince Fielder‘s impending free agency. Fielder is a goner for the Brewers: They may make an offer to appease their fan base, but the terms will not meet Fielder’s demands. The Cubs are now the only team with demonstrable need and sufficient means to grab Fielder this winter. Fielder is the best value to be had among elite free agents this winter, and the Cubs now stand almost unopposed, check in hand.