Think you've heard the last from me on Ryan Braun? NO WAY! We got another nine years of this stuff! (Or at least another eight months of this stuff.)
A lot of people are saying the deal is a mistake and some people are saying that it's one of the worst deals in all of baseball. Those people are all stupid. This deal is risky, but it's also smart. Re-signing Ryan Braun to this deal is the best thing the Brewers could have done.
Why? Three reasons:
Salaries are going to go up, not down.
Yes, Ryan Braun's contract is comparable to the recent contracts of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and the like, but those contracts are being paid in 2011 money. Ryan Braun's contract is being paid in 2015-2020 money. Big difference.
They don't keep making Ryan Brauns
Put it this way, Cardinals fans wish they would have signed Pujols to this deal nine years ago.
He's already under a below market contract until 2015, but then what would happen? He would leave. If he entered free agency he would leave. Even if he wanted to stay he would leave. Why? Because someone would offer him a lot more money and the Brewers wouldn't be able to replace his production. It's been that way throughout history. The Pirates replaced Barry Bonds with Al Martin. The Cubs replaced Greg Maddux with Jose Guzman. The Brewers replaced CC Sabathia with Braden Looper. If Ryan Braun stays Ryan Braun we would regret this. A LOT.
Ryan Braun is built to last
Seriously, look at that guy. You could grade cheese on his abs. You just know he counts calories. He's probably never even looked at a brat much less tried to fit three in his mouth to impress a girl. (Not that I've ever done anything like that.) If he goes out for a drink he doesn't top it off with a late night drive thru trip, he gets up in the morning and does an extra twenty minutes on the treadmill. If I had to bet my life on a player being healthy and productive for the next 10 years it'd be him.
I read someone saying that "Ryan Braun's comparables don't bode well for him" to which I call bullshit. According to baseball-reference Braun's top five comparables through age 26 are:
- Chick Hafey: Hall of Famer, retired at age 32, career .898 OPS. Posted ,830 OPS in his last full season.
- Manny Ramirez: Needs to introduction. If Ryan Braun can perform like Manny Ramirez without steroids this deal is a huge win.
- Raul Mondesi: One of the "bad comparables". Mondesi's career was plagued by attitude problems and poor plate discipline that led to his sharp decline in his 30s. The former isn't a problem and the latter is something that Ryan Braun is constantly improving.
- Shawn Green: Great career that started declining at age 30 when he developed shoulder tendinitis, but OPS didn't fall below .800 until age 33. I'm pretty sure the only reason he's comparable is because he's Jewish.
- Jim Thome: The dream scenario. Make no mistake about it, Ryan Braun's destiny is to end up as a first baseman and if he can match the production of this guy we'll all be wishing they would've tacked on a few more years to the end of it. A career .962 OPS with no bad seasons in between. I love Jim Thome.
Shawn and Chick are the "worst case", Mondesi is the outlier and Manny and Thome are the hope. Even in the worse case scenario he'll retire before the contract is done. Ryan Braun has too much pride in his legacy to steal money. I truly believe that.
So let's make this real simple for everyone so that the stupid people can understand.
RYAN BRAUN + STAY HEALTHY = CONTRACT GOOD
Got it? Good.