When it comes to NL Central rivals who have a “face of the team” that we can’t help but hate, Yadier Molina got the bulk of the will-he-won’t-he attention this offseason. But there’s another “face of the team” who may no longer be in the NL Central in 2021: Ryan Braun.
A Milwaukee Brewers since he was drafted 16 years ago, Braun has been deeply associated with the Brewers ever since. And thanks to the combined power of his crushing the Cubs and PED lying, he’s always been easy for Cubs fans to hate. Having finally completed his long, long-term contract, though, Braun is now a free agent, and it’s an open question whether he’s going to continue playing at all:
Two weeks before the Brewers' first full-squad workout, here's what Ryan Braun is thinking: “I’m continuing to work out and stay in shape, but I’m not currently interested in playing."https://t.co/o9oHuwJncq
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) February 9, 2021
If I had to guess, Braun probably (1) wants to continue his career only if it’s with the Brewers, and (2) has a spot on the Brewers only if the DH makes its way back to the NL this year. So, then, he stays in shape, and if the DH gets added at the last minute, he could come to Spring Training, show the team that he can still hit (if he can), and then they bring him back on a modest deal.
Braun, 37, was a below average bat overall last year, and has hit a solid – but no longer spectacular – .267/.327/.488 (110 wRC+) since the start of 2017. It’s possible he’s just all done at this point.