The 3rd Man In

Brewers, Dodgers trade idea featuring Ryan Braun


Players report to spring training in just over a month and don’t be surprised if Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns makes a flurry of moves by mid-February.

Last year, Stearns made two major deals right before spring training, dealing shortstop Jean Segura to Arizona on Jan. 30 and left fielder Khris Davis to Oakland on Feb. 12.

Could Stearns make headlines once again this year? Besides acquiring bullpen help, trading Ryan Braun is another move the Brewers should make within the next month.

Braun’s name has been mentioned in trade talks since last season, when the Los Angeles Dodgers were close to acquiring the veteran outfielder on two separate occasions.

With the Dodgers chances of acquiring Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier dead, it could open the door for the Dodgers to trade for Braun.

Here’s a deal that would make sense for the Brewers and Dodgers, featuring Braun as the centerpiece of the Dodgers’ return:

Los Angeles Dodgers receive: OF Ryan Braun, 2B Scooter Gennett

Braun, 33, is still an elite player, finishing the 2016 season hitting .305 with 30 home runs, 91 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. But, he hasn’t played in over 140 games since 2012 and is owed $76 million over the next four years.

These two factors, along with his PED history, don’t help Braun’s trade value. However, he’d give the Dodgers a right-handed power bat, which is something they are desperately needing.

With the Dodgers back at square one in their search for a second baseman, Scooter Gennett is an affordable option who had a productive 2016 season, hitting .263 with 14 homers and 56 RBIs. Gennett will make $2.525 million in 2017 and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020.

Milwaukee Brewers receive: OF Yasiel Puig, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Imani Abdullah, 1B Edwin Rios

The Brewers are deep with outfielders at the major league level and in their farm system, but none of those players have the potential Yasiel Puig possesses. Puig’s production has dropped off since 2013 when he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, hitting .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games. But, Puig has five-tool potential and is still just 26 years old.

Signed through 2018 at a total of $17.43 million and not eligible for free agency until 2020, the Brewers could acquire Puig and use him as future trade bait or as a piece for the future.

With two years, $23 million remaining on his contract, Brandon McCarthy would give the Brewers a veteran leader in their rotation and a potential trade chip.

McCarthy, 33, underwent Tommy John surgery in early 2015 and has only pitched 63 innings the last two years. Over his 11-year career, the right-hander has been an effective mid-rotation starter, posting a career 4.17 ERA and 1.292 WHIP.

Besides acquiring two major league players, the Brewers would also receive two prospects.

Right-hander Imani Abdullah is the Dodgers 16th-ranked prospect according to, possessing a mid-90s fastball with an average curveball and changeup. Only 19 years old, Abdullah has performed well in his brief pro career. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound hurler spent all of 2016 at Class A, posting a 3.61 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 12 walks in 72 1/3 innings (16 starts).

Edwin Rios is a left-handed hitting first baseman who is known for his power. Ranked as the Dodgers 26th-best prospect by, Rios hit .301 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 108 games between Class A, Class A-Advanced and Double A last season.

Final thoughts:

With the Brewers in rebuilding mode, and the Dodgers searching for a second baseman and a right-handed power bat after their lineup struggled against left-handed pitching last season, this deal makes sense for both teams. While this deal is risky for both sides, it could help each team inch closer to their goal of building a championship contender.

Read more on the latest MLB news and the MLB Draft here


  1. eddiemathews

    January 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I don’t like Puig with all of the young players, but would trust the Brewers would do their due diligence about how he is now. The prospects aren’t overwhelming and I don’t know that McCarthy is an improvement for the rotation. The only thing I’d like from the Brewers perspective is that Scooter Gennett must be dealt…there isn’t a place on the major league roster for him.

    But I’d rather keep Braun; his contract is less than 20 mil/year. He could help a young line-up contend in a few years; Puig would be gone after 2.

    • George Kaplan

      January 15, 2017 at 8:35 am

      First of all, I don’t think you read that carefully: Puig isn’t a free agent for three years. There is one more arb year when his current contract expires. He doesn’t become a free agent until 2020.

      Secondly, you are concerned about Puig’s influence on the younger players, and you’d rather keep a known PED cheat who lied about his cheating and cost an average Joe his job in the process? Okay…

      • PBTank

        January 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

        But since the PED stuff, Braun has been a humble player on the Brewers and a positive influence. I’m guessing your not from the Milwaukee area. Younger players do not need a cancer in the clubhouse is what I’m assuming Eddie is referring to. I think Puig would be fine on this team. I however would not want McCarthy in this deal. Unless there was another deal pending to trade him or Garza away.

      • eddiemathews

        January 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        Thanks for responding, and for your concern for my reading comprehension. I understood. I was being generous, actually – I really think Puig would be gone after a season. I was as upset with Braun as the next guy; he made a mistake trying to overcome injuries and compounded it a hundred fold by lying and continuing to lie. But Puig has had serious issues with multiple teammates. I really hope the Brewers don’t trade for him; the Brewers’ minor league system has several top outfield prospects.

      • unclfunkel

        January 15, 2017 at 1:52 pm

        Get over it all ready.

  2. Dave

    January 15, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Brewers rejected more than that last July and now they’d be adding Gannett? Take McCarthy and his contract out of deal then maybe.

  3. la vie en bleu

    January 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

    As a life long Dodger fan I still don’t understand the way that guys like George Kaplan think, though I do try.

    • unclfunkel

      January 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      The guy needs to move on in life. Like the Kaplan guy has never made a mistake.

      • George Kaplan

        January 15, 2017 at 6:54 pm

        “The Kaplan guy” has made plenty of mistakes in his life. I don’t care if the trade happens or not. I’m simply amused to see Puig called a cancer, while Braun not only lied to his fans and his teammates, his claims of innocence cost a guy his job.

        That’s not an “oopsie” mistake, like some would claim. The tech for the testing lab lost his job and was publicly called incompetent, and at no point did Braun man up and take the fall. He kept silent and let this guy lose his job, based on a lie from Braun. He even suggested the tech framed Braun for reasons of anti-Semitism.

        It was only when his name was caught up in the Biogenesis scandal that Braun admitted he had been cheating–this, a year and a half after he bounced on the earlier charge by blaming the tech.

        Puig may be a complete a-hole with his teammates. Don’t know, don’t care. But saying it is preferable to have a serial liar in Braun around the rookies rather than Puig is a strangely flexible sense of morality. How about neither?

        • Douglas Nelsen

          January 16, 2017 at 9:56 pm

          Tired of trading our stars to other teams for their has beens and never will be’s!

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