Tag Archives: Ryan Braun

Phillies to spend Memorial Day weekend 2019 at Miller Park in Milwaukee

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Phillies hope to keep Bernie Brewer from sliding much this weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (29-21) will be spending Memorial Day weekend at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers (29-22), who are currently sitting in second place in the National League Central Division standings.

The Brew Crew trail the Chicago Cubs, against whom the Phillies just split a four-game series, by 1.5 games, three in the loss column. They enjoyed an off-day on Thursday prior to this series, coming off an 11-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in their previous game on Wednesday night.
It was just over a week ago that the Brewers captured three of four games between the two teams at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won the opener of that series by 7-4 when J.T. Realmuto and Odubel Herrera produced run-scoring doubles to break up a 4-4 tie game. But Milwaukee roared back to capture the final three games by a combined 22-6 runs margin.
The two clubs have proven very evenly matched in recent years with the Phillies holding a 10-9 edge in their 19 meetings over the three previous combined entering this 2019 season.
The Brewers (250) and Phillies (249) rank 4th and 5th respectively in the NL in runs scored, though Milwaukee has played one more game. The Atlanta Braves (252) are 3rd, and also have one more game than the Phillies.
Milwaukee is a well-rounded, dynamic offensive ball club. The Brewers hitters collectively rank 4th in OPS and 5th in OBP. They lead the entire National League in home runs and are tied for the league lead in stolen bases. No slouch with their gloves, the Brew Crew defenders have committed the 5th-fewest errors in the NL while handling the 2nd-most chances.
After splitting their series at Wrigley Field with the Cubs, the Phillies are now 6-5 during what we have described previously here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible”, a nearly month-long stretch against top-notch competition from outside the NL East Division. That stretch continues this weekend.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

  • Christian Yelich: clearly the Brewers top lineup threat, the 27-year-old Yelich was last year’s NL Most Valuable Player. He was also a first-time All-Star and captured his second career Silver Slugger Award. Yelich won a Gold Glove back in the 2014 season with the Miami Marlins, for whom he was a first round draft pick at 23rd overall back in 2010. Yelich was obtained by Milwaukee in a January 2018 trade for a four-prospect package. He is currently slashing .325/.440/.732 and leads the club in homers (19), RBIs (41), extra-base hits (26), runs (40) and steals (9).
  • Ryan Braun: still a threat at age 35, Braun is perhaps the biggest “Phillie-killer” in the game today. He was both the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2011 National League MVP. However, that MVP honor was tarnished when he later admitted to having used PEDs during that season, an infraction that cost him an 80-game suspension. His nine homers and 30 RBIs are both tied for second on the team this season. Braun is slashing .385/.428/.709 over his career against the Phillies across 76 games. His 25 homers and 73 RBIs against the Phillies are his most against a non-divisional opponent.
  • Mike Moustakas: ‘Moose’ was obtained by the Brewers from the Kansas City Royals just prior to last July’s trade deadline. He re-upped with Milwaukee for one year after becoming a free agent this past off-season, with an $11 million mutual option for the 2020 season. The dozen homers off his lefty bat are second on the club and his 30 RBIs are tied with Braun for second. He just recently moved from second base back to his more natural third base to accommodate the rookie you can read about in the below spotlight feature.
  • Yasmani Grandal: after winning four straight NL West crowns as the Los Angeles Dodgers starting catcher, Grandal  also signed a one-year deal with the Brewers as a free agent. He has a $16 million mutual option for next season. One of the top offensive backstops in the game, Grandal’s nine homers are tied with Braun for third on the club. He also holds a fine .374 on-base percentage.
  • Lorenzo Cain: Phillies fans will recall that Cain produced a five-hit game against their team just last week. He has gotten hot beginning with that game, slashing .389/.450/.556 over his last eight games. Now 33-years-old, Cain signed with Milwaukee as a free agent in January 2018 for five years, the dealing taking him through the 2022 season.
  • Jesus Aguilar: Aguilar burst onto the season as a first-time All-Star last year, blasting 35 home runs and producing 108 RBIs. However, he has started the 2019 season very cold, hitting just .200 with three RBIs and seven extra-base hits. He has lost playing time at first base over the last week to Thames (see below.)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Keston Hiura: the Brewers top prospect was promoted to the big-leagues for the first time during last week’s series against the Phillies. The 22-year-old was Milwaukee’s first round pick at 9th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Cal-Irvine. After ripping minor league pitching at five levels over the next two years, he has slashed .273/.333/.455 with two homers over his first eight games in Major League Baseball and has taken over as the Brewers starting second baseman. He could end up holding the position for years to come.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

  • Chase Anderson: (FRI) 2-0, 2.66 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 18 hits allowed over 23.2 IP across eight games (three starts) with a 25/13 K:BB ratio. Anderson spent time on the IL at the start of this month with a blister on his right pitching middle finger. He began the season in the bullpen before returning to the starting rotation on April 16.
  • Jhoulys Chacin: (SAT) 3-5, 4.65 ERA, 1.311 WHIP, 5.47 FIP, 44 hits over 50.1 IP across 10 starts with a 36/22 K:BB ratio.
  • Brandon Woodruff: (SUN) 6-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, 3.23 FIP, 52 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 65/17 K:BB ratio. One of the club’s top prospects for a couple of years, Woodruff debuted in 2017 and was a rookie last year when he pitched mostly out of the bullpen. He has finally seized a role in the rotation this season at age 26.

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

  • Ben Gamel: a left-hander who turned 27-years-old last week. He has made 27 starts, mostly as a corner outfielder. Since the Phillies are likely to start a trio of right-handers on the mound this weekend, Gamel should see at least one start in place of Braun.
  • Eric Thames: a left-hander who is at least platooning at first base with Aguilar at this point. The 32-year-old veteran has 20 RBIs in just 125 plate appearances.
  • Josh Hader: the closer is one of the toughest left-handers in the game today. He has a dozen Saves with a 2.52 ERA and 0.640 WHIP in 19 games. A first-time All-Star a year ago, Hader has allowed just nine hits across 25 innings with a 49/7 K:BB ratio.
  • Junior Guerra: the club’s primary setup man, Guerra has a 2.39 ERA and 0.911 WHIP, allowing just 13 hits over 26.1 IP with a 22/11 K:BB across 21 games.
  • Jeremy Jeffress: another top righty out of the bullpen, Jeffress was an All-Star a year ago when he spent much of the season as the Brewers closer. This season he has a 2.93 ERA and 1.109 WHIP, allowing 11 hits over 15.1 IP across 14 appearances with a 16/6 K:BB ratio.
  • Alex Claudio: the most effective southpaw out of the pen, Claudio has made more appearances (27) than any Brewers reliever. He has allowed 16 hits over 20 innings with a 16/8 K:BB ratio.

THE SKIPPER

Craig Counsell is in his fifth year at the helm in Milwaukee, having taken over in the middle of the 2015 campaign. He has guided the club to an overall 345-330 record in that time. After his 2017 club missed an NL Wildcard playoff berth by just a single game, he led the team to a division crown last year.
Counsell played for 16 seasons in the big-leagues with five organizations. He played with Milwaukee in 2004 and then over his final five years from 2007-11. He was a teammate of Braun’s when the two faced the Phillies in the 2008 National League Division Series.
As a second baseman with the Florida Marlins, Counsell scored the title-winning run at Pro Player Stadium in Miami in the bottom of the 11th inning of the decisive Game 7 in the 1997 World Series. He reached on an error with one out, then came home three batters later on Edgar Renteria‘s single to center field.

THE BALLPARK

Bernie Brewer makes his slide after each Brewers home run and victory. (Mattingly23)
Miller Park opened as the Brewers home for the 2001 season. The facility features the only fan-shaped convertible roof in the United States, which can open and close in as little as 10 minutes. It holds 41,900 as a normal capacity but has been filled with a record 46,218 for a 2003 game with the rival Cubs.
Two of the unique fun features at Miller Park include the “Sausage Race“, a foot race between five people in “racing sausage” costumes, which takes place in the middle of the 6th inning of each game. And high above left-center field, the mascot “Bernie Brewer” takes off down a long, winding, yellow slide after each home run hit by the Brewers and after each of their victories.
During the traditional 7th-inning stretch, in addition to singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, Brewers fans also sing “Roll Out the Barrel” as a salute to the town’s beer-making history. Fans watching on television can usually spot “Front-Row Amy” sitting just behind home plate. Let’s just say that it’s hard to miss Amy Williams, who has held her $5,670 season ticket there for the last two years.
Following the 2020 season, Miller Park will no longer be known by that moniker. The naming rights to the stadium, which have belonged to the Miller Brewing Company for 20 years, will expire. Beginning with the 2021 season the park will be renamed for the new rights holders, American Family Insurance.

Phillies need to find a way to slow down Ryan Braun

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Ryan Braun has been a Phillies-killer for years

Over the course of his 13-year career in Major League Baseball, outfielder Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has done a lot of damage against a lot of opposing teams.

Braun, who served a 65-game suspension back in 2013after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his 2011 National League MVP-winning campaign, has blasted 331 home runs over that career.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been victimized by Braun more than most, to the point that he is now high on the list of “Phillie-killers”, those players who consistently do damage when the two teams meet.
Over 74 regular season games played against the Phillies, 72 of those as starts, Braun is slashing .378/.417/.711 with 25 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 44 extra-base hits with a 1.129 OPS. He even hit the Phillies during the one postseason series between the two clubs. During that 2008 NLDS he delivered five hits and a pair of RBIs. Ironically, he went 0-4 in the lone Brewers victory of that series.
At Citizens Bank Park, Braun has ripped successive generations of Phillies pitching to the tune of a .406/.453/.804 slash line with 14 homers and 43 RBIs over 36 games.
During Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory for the Brewers, Braun crushed his ninth home run of the season. It was just another successful night in South Philly for the now 35-year-old slugger, who is enjoying his best power year since the 2016 season.
In addition to that tainted 2011 NL MVP Award, Braun has finished among the top three in the voting in two other seasons. He was the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year and is a six-time NL All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger.
After manager Craig Counsell sat him out for the previous three Brewers games, using him only as a pinch-hitter, Braun was back in the starting lineup to torture the Phillies last night. Fans who head down to the ball park tonight can expect to see him in there again, looking to continue his onslaught.
The Brewers (25-19) trail the first-place Chicago Cubs by 2.5 games in the NL Central Division race, but are five games back in the loss column. The Phillies (24-17) are 3.5 games up in the NL East Division standings, three in the loss column over the New York Mets.
Coming into this series, the Phillies had been finding a way to win despite consistently dropping their series openers. This time around they won that opener. In order to capture their fourth series in a row the Phillies need to slow down Braun and beat the Brew Crew on Wednesday night in this third of a four-game set.

WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Sean Rodriguez 3B
  8. Phil Gosselin LF
  9. Jake Arrieta P

BREWERS LINEUP

  1. Lorenzo Cain CF
  2. Christian Yelich RF
  3. Ryan Braun LF
  4. Mike Moustakas 3B
  5. Jesus Aguilar 1B
  6. Keston Hiura 2B
  7. Manny Pina C
  8. Orlando Arcia SS
  9. Gio Gonzalez P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jake Arrieta: 4-3, 3.78 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 50 innings across eight starts with a 42/19 K:BB.
  • Arrieta has six Quality Starts among his eight outings this season, but has lasted just five frames in two of his last three.
  • The Phillies right-hander has made 17 career starts vs the Brewers, going 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA, allowing just 69 hits over 100.2 innings. Arrieta lost both starts vs Milwaukee in 2018, giving up 8 earned runs and 11 hits over 8.2 innings.
  • After surrendering three home runs in his most recent start last Friday in Kansas City, Arrieta has now given up eight long balls on the year. His current 1.4 HR/9 is the highest since second big-league season back in 2011.
  • Gio Gonzalez: 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 11 hits allowed over 16 innings across three starts with a 12/4 K:BB.
  • Gonzalez has given the Brewers three straight starts of 5+ innings since his promotion after starting the season with three starts for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
  • The lefty signed with the Brewers as a free agent on April 27 after being released by the Yankees five days earlier. He had signed on with the Yanks back in spring training after splitting last season with the Brewers and Nationals, the latter of whom he pitched with from 2012-18.
  • Gonzalez was once Phillies property, having been obtained from the Chicago White Sox as part of the Jim Thome – Aaron Rowand deal in 2005. The Phillies sent him back to the Chisox a year later along with Gavin Floyd in a trade for Freddy Garcia.

BRUCE WILLIS THROWING OUT FIRST PITCH

Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Bruce Willis has starred in many films shot in the Philadelphia area: “The Sixth Sense”, for which he won a People’s Choice Award, and “12 Monkeys” among them. Willis family moved from Germany, where his father was in the U.S. military service, to New Jersey when he was just two years old. He grew up a Phillies fan in Carney’s Point, New Jersey and was a graduate of both Penns Grove High School and Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is taking batting practice prior to the game tonight and will be throwing out the honorary first pitch.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Maikel Franco has the second-best fielding percentage among all National League third basemen. After handling four chances cleanly on Tuesday night, Franco has gone 30 games since making his lone error of the season back on April 9. However, he is hitting just .042 in his career over 24 at-bats against Gonzalez, and so is out of the starting lineup on Wednesday.
  • Bryce Harper remains one of just four hitters in the National League with 25 RBis and 25 walks on the season. Two of the other three are playing in this series: Rhys Hoskins and Christian Yelich. Harper leads all of Major League Baseball with 163 walks since the start of the 2018 season. Harper and Andrew McCutchen are the only NL hitters with at least 25 runs scored and 30 walks this season.
  • Cesar Hernandez has 45 hits this season, second-most among all NL second basemen. He is slashing .348/.415/.522 since April 10, though without much run production.
  • After throwing out Orlando Arcia trying to steal second base and Lorenzo Cain trying to swipe third last night, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto leads all of Major League Baseball with 15 runners thrown out this year, more than twice as many as the next highest backstop.
  • Jean Segura singled in the first inning last night, upping his first inning average to the .469 mark this year.
  • The Phillies currently have four right-handed relievers on the Injured List who were expected to be bullpen keys: David Robertson (right arm flexor strain), Victor Arano(right elbow), Tommy Hunter (right arm flexor strain) and Edubray Ramos (right biceps tendonitis). Ramos is expected to return next week, Arano possibly within two. Hunter hopes to begin a minor league rehab by the end of the month, and Robertson hopes to be back by the end of June.
  • Scott Kingery began a minor league rehab stint last night at Lakewood. He is expected to play twice this week at Double-A Reading and then return to the Phillies as a super-utility player this coming weekend.

WEDNESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Brewers pitcher Chase Anderson is now the hunter

Anderson has gone from being the hunted to the hunter in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t fielded a winning team since the 2014 season. It has been six years since the 2011 Brew Crew won 96 games and the NL Central Division crown. That was the most recent contending seasons for the club.
Thus far in the 2017 season, the Brewers are off to a .500 start at 16-16. They are still hanging around in the division race, a game and a half out of first place as we move through the second week of May.
Much of the credit for the Brewers’ more competitive start has rightly gone to surprising slugger Eric Thames. The first baseman signed as a free agent this past offseason after four years away from Major League Baseball, the last three of those playing in Korea.
Thames has given Milwaukee an offensive threat to team with Ryan Braun, the likes of which haven’t been seen on the banks of Lake Michigan since Prince Fielder left following that 2011 campaign.
But as any baseball fan knows, you can have all the hitting in the world, and your team will not win if it cannot compete on the mound.

FOURTH YEAR STARTER EMERGING

Right-hander Chase Anderson has emerged early on this season as Thames’ surprise counterpart among the pitching staff.
A Texas native, Anderson was a fourth round choice of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He came to Milwaukee in a January 2016 trade along with Aaron Hill and prospect Isan Diaz in exchange for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner.
Now in his fourth big league season, the 29-year-old Anderson entered this year with a career mark of 24-24 over his first 79 starts in the major leagues. His typical ERA has been north of the 4.00 mark.
Thus far in the 2017 season, Anderson is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP mark. He has allowed 30 hits over 34.2 innings with a 30/12 K:BB ratio.
Anderson’s K/BB ratio of 2.50, his K/9 rate of 7.8 and his BB/9 rate of 3.1 are all right along with his career marks to this point. Sometimes a nice ERA can be deceptive. But Anderson also has a fine 2.77 FIP mark and a 153 ERA+ on his stat line. So what has been the difference?
One bugaboo for Anderson in the past has been a propensity to surrender home runs on a far too frequent basis. He served up 62 long balls in 418.2 innings over his first three seasons.
But to this point, Anderson has yielded just one homer. After giving up 25 bombs a year ago, he is on a pace to allow just five this season.

MORE AGGRESSIVE MENTALITY

In late April, Anderson was quoted by Todd Rosiak with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on an improved mental aspect of his approach to the game:

“I think it goes back to the mentality of being the hunter and not the hunted,” Rosiak quotes the pitcher. 

“(Pitching coach Derek Johnson) harps on that a lot. He tells me to just go out there and attack the strike zone and that my stuff’s good enough, and that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.”

The lone homer that he has surrendered thus far in 2017 came in his very first start of the year. On April 6, Mark Reynolds of the Colorado Rockies tagged him in the third inning at Miller Park.
Since that time, Anderson is working on a streak of 27 consecutive innings without allowing a ball to leave the yard. It has clearly been a key to the overall improvement in his results.
Things haven’t been all rosy for Anderson. His last two starts have been less than stellar, as he allowed four earned runs to both the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. Against the division-rival Cards, Anderson lasted just 4.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season thus far.
The improvement that Anderson showed on the mound over his first handful of starts was noticeable. If he simply continues to keep the ball in the park, he will enjoy many more of those types of outings as the year moves along. Maintaining that “hunter” attitude will be the key.

Lewis Brinson Knocking on the Door in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers finished 16 games below the .500 mark in the 2016 season. That record left them a distant 30.5 games behind the NL Central champion Chicago Cubs.
Even the National League Wildcard spots were nowhere in sight. The Brewers were 14 games behind the playoff slots. It was a third losing campaign in the last four seasons for the Brew Crew.
While the Brewers have not been contenders for a while and don’t figure to contend in the coming 2017 season, there is hope for the future.
The Milwaukee farm system was ranked 6th by Keith Law in his most recent MLB organizational rankings back in January. The organization came in 8th at Baseball America in their rankings released three weeks ago.
In his evaluation, Law highlighted two primary reasons for the Brewers high organizational ranking: strong recent drafts and good returns in trades.
“The Brewers’ rebuild has been overshadowed by the presence of three contenders in the division, but they’ve done a good job restocking the system in the last 18 months with two strong draft classes and huge returns on trades of veterans.” ~ Keith Law

LUCROY DEAL BRINGS TOP PROSPECTS

One of those “huge returns” received in a deal came at last summer’s trade deadline. The Brewers sent all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and pitcher Jeremy Jeffress to the Texas Rangers.
Brewers
In return the club received prospect outfielder Ryan Cordell and pitcher Luis Ortiz. The latter is now the Brewers’ #4 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
The third prospect received in that deal is the biggest piece. Outfielder Lewis Brinson is a legitimate power-speed combination player. He is now Milwaukee’s top-ranked overall prospect.
Brinson was selected by the Rangers with their first round pick at 29th overall in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Coral Spring High School in Florida.
He rose through the Texas minor league organization over the ensuing five years, excelling at each stop. Last year, Brinson was slowed by a shoulder injury prior to the trade. He still managed double-digit home run and stolen base totals while with the Rangers system.

MILWAUKEE OUTFIELD MAY BE IN TRANSITION

Brinson is now in camp with the Brewers, and has shined thus far this spring. In 28 plate appearances over his first 11 games, Brinson is hitting for a .286/.355/.571 slash line. He has two homers and seven RBI thus far.
Given health, Milwaukee is set across their starting outfield. Veteran superstar Ryan Braun is in left field, speedy Keon Broxton in center, and 24-year old Domingo Santana in right.
Brinson will likely start the season at AAA Colorado Springs, a hitter’s paradise that should allow him to build confidence and pad his statistical resume.
The Brewers were very close to a trade last summer involving Braun. The 33-year old does not figure to be around when the club is ready to contend. He is again likely to be a hot topic of trade rumor conversation as this coming season moves along.

BRINSON CLOSING IN ON BIG LEAGUES

Brinson is getting close to making his big league debut. He has a quick bat, plus power, can run the bases. Defensively, he can cover tons of ground in the outfield. A couple of more months of work at the AAA level working on pitch recognition, and he should be ready.
Brewers
Kyle Lobner at The Milwaukee Record wrote on Brinson prior to spring training. He quotes the soon-to-be 23-year old on his prospect status, and his big league aspirations.
“I tell everybody all the time that I’m honored to be on prospect lists and be considered one of the best players in the minor leagues. It’s pretty cool to get that notification, but at the same time I want to not be a prospect anymore…It’s all good and dandy now, but the ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues.”
It could come due to a Braun trade, an injury to someone, or simply his own play forcing the issue over one of the other outfielders.
But it would be no surprise to see Brinson in Milwaukee before this season is out. The hope of the Brewers and their fans is that he is just beginning a long, exciting career.

2016 Winter Meetings: Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers finished at 73-89 and in fourth place in the NL Central Division this season. That left the club 30.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs, a team they finished nine games in front of just two years ago.
As we prepare for the opening of baseball’s Winter Meetings in just one week, the Brewers could well be one of the big players in any horse trading.
One of the main reasons: left fielder Ryan Braun is actively on the trade block. The 33-year old Braun may be the most proven and prolific bat available in a deal.
Reports are that Milwaukee general manager David Stearns was very close to a deal to send Braun to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a couple of occasions last season.
“I get asked about it regularly,” Stearns said recently per ESPN through the AP“…that’s a big story this offseason, but I’m very happy that Ryan is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers…expect him to be a member of the Milwaukee Brewers going forward.”
The Dodgers are one of six teams to whom the 33-year old slugger cannot block a trade. The Miami Marlins, near where Braun played his college ball, are another. Also on the list are a number of teams near his home: the Angels, Padres, Dbacks, and Giants.

BRAUN’S CAREER TO DATE

Braun was the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and 2011 National League Most Valuable Player. He is also a 6x NL All-Star and a 5x Silver Slugger Award winner.
Testing positive for a banned substance following that MVP season, Braun publicly challenged the testing process during an infamous February 2012 press conference. He has since recanted and admitted that he did indeed take PEDsto deal with injuries towards the end of that season.
As a result of his admission, Braun received a 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball, which he served in the second half of the 2013 season.
Braun’s production numbers in 2014 and 2015 were nowhere near his previous levels. This fueled speculation that he used PEDs far more often during his career than just at the end of 2011 to help with injuries.
But this past season, Braun rebounded to hit for a .305/.365/.508 slash with 30 homers and 91 RBI. He is very aware that as the Winter Meetings approach, his name is again being bandied about.
“Not knowing 100 percent where [I’ll] be playing is hard. It definitely complicates things,” the outfielder said just last week per the AP report. “Obviously, things come up. It’s a part of the business…part of the profession. If something were to happen, we’d figure it out when we get there.”

WHAT MIGHT MILWAUKEE DO AT THE MEETINGS?

If someone does indeed bite on Braun, it will have to be a team with deep pockets. A team tha tis one or two pieces away from serious title contention over the next couple of seasons.
Braun has four guaranteed years left on his contract at a total of $76 million. That will take him through his age 36 season. There is a further $15 million team option season, with a $4 million buyout.
Milwaukee could also look to move first baseman Chris Carter, who bashed 41 home runs with 27 doubles, 91 RBI, and 84 runs scored this season. Carter turns 30 years old just 10 days after the Winter Meetings conclude. (NOTECarter was non-tendered after original publication of this piece, and will likely not return.)
33-year old starting pitcher Matt Garza and 33-year old reliever Carlos Torres could make attractive trade pieces as well. 2016 breakout starting pitcher Junior Guerra, who turns 32 years old in January, might even be dangled.
The Brewers have a farm system that is universally ranked among the top third in the game, especially strong on position players. Milwaukee would almost certainly be looking to add a premium pitching prospect or two in any deal.
When the game’s movers and shakers gather outside Washington, D.C. next week, expect Stearns’ phone to be blowing up on a regular basis, with his star slugger the main topic of conversations.