Brewers sign Braun thorugh 2020 – too much?

The Brewers yesterday added five years to Ryan Braun’s contract, putting him under club control til 2020. He had already signed a contract in May 2008 that had him in Milwaukee til 2015. The new contract keeps him in Milwaukee until he’s 36.

The deal in 2008 was and is the biggest contract for a player with less than one year of Major League service.

The new deal is worth $105 million for five years, with a mutual option for a sixth year. It is the biggest deal in Brewers’ history.

Including 2011, that means Braun will be making $145.5 million for 10 years.

The deal including $10 million in signing bonuses and though the details were not dicussed, also allows the club to defer some of the money, leaving them some wiggle room for signing free agents as they may need.

The deal is reportedly for $19 million in ’16, ’17 and ’18, $18 million in 2019 and $16 million in 2020. The mutual option for 2021 is reportedly worth up to $20 million. There is a $4 million dollar buyout and the deal includes a no-trade clause.

Over the course of the whole ten year contract Braun is earning an average of $21 million per year, which is the second-highest ever salary for an outfielder, says ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney also reports that this deal makes Braun one of just seven ever players to be signed through age 36 while spending their entire career with their original team. The others are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones and Todd Helton.

Troy Tulowitsky, who was the runner up to Braun in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting, is the only other major leaguer signed through the 2020 season.

But what do we think about signing a player for the majority of their major league career?

Though the contract does include deferred payments meant to help the club, it does tie up a lot of money for a small-market club for the next ten years. It could handcuff the Brewers in future negotiations.

The Brewers are taking the risk that Braun not only maintains the kind of offensive output he’s known for, but doesn’t get injured – for the next ten years.

The timing is interesting, because while Braun is having his hottest start to the season, 2010 was by far his worst year statistically in the majors. It’s calculated risk, but risk nontheless. They have secured one piece of the puzzle and cemented him as the cornerstone of the franchise. They now know exactly where they stand financially as the continue to try to field a team around him.

Does the benefit a small-market team gains in marketing a “face of the franchise,” outweigh the possible downfalls of such a long contract?

Milwaukee (and Wisconsin) like their icons. People love Robin Yount and the fact that he spent his whole career in a Brewer uniform. Brett Favre was a god. There hasn’t been an annointed Brewer for a very long time. After years of losing, the franchise has a new owner and appears to be committed to placing a winning product on the field every season.

But are those off-field reasons enough to justify locking a player up for 10 years?

The same questions were raised when the Rockies extended Tulowitzki – who was under contract thorough 2014 at the time they added six years to his deal.

I was there: Ladies… do Coors Field

The boyfriend and I took at trip to Denver in Mid-June to follow the Brewers and because I’d never been. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, drove up Mount Evans, spent some time in Boulder and watched two baseball games.

Sadly, the Brewers lost both the games we went to and won the game we decided to forgo in favor of Rocky Mountain National Park. But the trip was worthwhile to check another stadium off my list.

Follow the jump for more on visiting Coors Field

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Hit and Run: A weekend of bananas!

Ok, well perhaps not LITERALLY. But c’mon, anyone that watched really any sport (including boxing) knows that this weekend was off-the-charts-bananas! Franchise record with a no-hitter, 20 inning scoreless standoff, NHL and NBA playoffs, drunk drivers…
Here’s a Hit & Run recap of the weekend’s events after the jump.

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The Baseball Boredom Scale: NL Edition

What happened to September baseball this year?

This is the time for tight pennant races, epic collapses (or comebacks depending on your rooting interests), and crucial three game series against your division rivals with a wild card berth at stake.

Instead, it seems like this year’s playoff teams have been more or less solidified since the middle of August, if not longer — and the season doesn’t end until October.  Yes, there are still individual incidents like Jays-Yankees brawls to get excited about, but September is supposed to be about “playoff implications,” and the chance for even mathematically eliminated teams to play spoiler.

So with nothing exciting to examine in the baseball world, let’s attempt to quantify just how boring the divisional races (and wild cards) are right now.  First up, the NL.

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Hit and Run: In Which Barry Zito’s BABIP Regresses, Right Before Our Eyes!

A.k.a. the “Complete MLB Rundown (To The Exclusion Of Everything Else)” edition. Why? Because I can. Yesterday’s scores presented BBC-style for extra hilarity and confusion.

  • Red Sox 3 – 5 Blue Jays. Sevven sollid innings from Tallet (see what I did there?) provide a lead for Scott Downs to preserve, bringing them back into 2nd place in the mighty AL East. Go Jays!
  • Marlins 7 – 3 Mets. Tim Redding sucks. Josh Johnson doesn’t. Go Fish!
  • Braves 2 – 3 Diamondbacks. There are a lot of 3s today. Eric Byrnes finally does something good; namely, driving in the winning run in the 11th. No, wearing awesome socks doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve done something good.
  • Dodgers 0 – 7 Cubs. Eric Stults fails as Dodgers get shut out for the first time all year. You know, I like the guy, but hey dude, put up or shut up. As in, put up zeros on the scoreboard, or shut the hell up when the reporters interview you and ask why you sucked. Go ahead, say, “I sucked”. David Ortiz did, you can too! Ugh. STULTS. My boy Brent Leach faces 1 batter, records 2 groundouts, because he’s cool like that. Go Dodgers.
  • Twins 2 – 5 Rays. David Price blah blah blah 11 strikeouts blah blah blah 1st Major League win blah blah blah Free Rick Porcello!
  • Reds 5 – 9 Brewers. Some dudes hit some home runs.
  • Tigers 6 – 3 Orioles. Is Luke Scott on steroids? Naw, he’s just in an un-slump.
  • Astros 4 – 7 Pirates. Hey guys, the Pirates just won another game. Meanwhile, the Astros lost another one and are hopelessly out of contention. Kind of like the Nationals.
  • Yankees 10 – 5 Indians. Your first double-digit scoring game of the night was notable only for the fact that CC Sabathia gave up runs. I really hate that guy. Oh, and Nick Swisher (perhaps better known simply as AJ Burnett’s new boyfriend) hit a home run. I’m sure they celebrated in an entirely appropriate fashion that didn’t involve ice cream or maple syrup or leather and chains. No, I didn’t just imply that.
  • Nationals 6 – 9 Phillies. Cole Hamels gets shelled but gets the win anyway. Disgusting. Lidge doesn’t implode, but his ERA is still above 8. Good luck with that, buddy.
  • White Sox 5 – 3 Royals. Gil Meche gets no love from the bullpen. Which sucks.
  • Athletics 1 – 14 Rangers. The average Leverage Index for this game was so low that it actually may have caused a Fangraphs implosion. Seriously, check it out:

  • Padres 7 – 8 Rockies. This game is actually so boring that there’s no proof it happened, so I can’t tell you what happened, although I’m sure if you really want to know you can look it up somewhere.
  • Mariners 4 – 3 Angels. If you’re a Mariners fan, then Jose Lopez is your saviour. On the other hand, if you’re a Mariners fan, then you probably have bigger problems, including the fact that your #5 starter is actually a vampire. That’s my clever way of saying that I sort of have a crush on Jason Vargas.
  • Cardinals 6 – 2 Giants. Zito was doing fine until he gave up 3 consecutive doubles in the 7th. Actually, on a team that didn’t epitomize suckitude, he would’ve had an easy shot at winning this game, except that 1) Albert Pujols is on steroids and 2) The Giants suck, ergo, their bullpen sucks, ergo, their starters don’t win unless they pitch complete game shutouts. Except for that one time, but I’m pretty sure that was an accident. Oh, and Albert Pujols did do something good; namely, he struck out looking on a curveball from Zito that came thisclose to making me scream in delight. (I did actually sort of whimper, but the sexual power of a pitch like that is a discussion for another time. Just watch any Roy Halladay start, or a good AJ Burnett start. You’ll understand.)

Good morning. I know in darkness I will find you giving up inside like me.

The All-Star Break Called… Part Deux

So I’ll admit it, I am a total snob when it comes thinking that the AL is superior to the NL.  I don’t know if its the designated hitter deal, the difference in stadium size (I like my homers in the AL), or the tighter strike zone… whatever it is, I’ve always considered the NL to be the red headed step child of Major League Baseball.  But I set those feelings aside to bring you the All-Star Team of the National League,  Ladies… style.

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Bad Baseball Beards: The True Threat to our National Pastime

Oh, Jayson.  No.

Oh, Jayson. No.

Dear Major League Baseball Players,

We need to talk.

I know we all like to make fun of the old school owners who forbid facial hair, and most of you can probably recite the relevant parts of The Simpsons softball episode by heart.  The baseball season is long, and  required uniforms can make it hard to find an outlet for personal expressions of style other than your hair.  (Or so I’m told by friends who went to Catholic school.)

Still, this beard thing is out of control this season. Minda tried to warn you last year that things were getting a little too scruffy in the chin region, but did you listen?

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