The Red Sox offense is good… like, scary good. They lead the American League and MLB in general in almost every offensive category, besides home runs… which appear to be showing up now (yeah, Mookie, I’m talkin’ bout you!)
With that said, I was surprised to read that the Sox could be a potential buyer on a position player, and a pretty damn good hitter: Ryan Braun, of the Milwaukee Brewers. This surprises me for a few reasons:
One: Braun isn’t totally necessary to this team’s success. I, and most of you, probably think that pitching, be it starting or relief is the top priority on the trade market this summer for Dave Dombrowski and his squad.
Two: Braun is owed a lot of money over the next four seasons. We’re talking potentially 105 million dollars through 2020. That’s not exactly chump change. I know the Sox are a big market team, yadda yadda yadda, but they already have so many gigantic contracts on the books already in Sandoval, Castillo, Ramirez, Porcello and Price. This concerns me because we’re reaching the time where the team seriously needs to consider locking up guys like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. long term. Adding a fat contract for another guy on the wrong side of 30 could potentially be devastating to those plans.
Three: The elephant in the room is Braun’s PED history. He’s been clean since 2012, but the stigma of that stuff stays with a player forever, and the topic will never die as long as Braun continues to wear a baseball uniform. He’s stuck with it, even if he remains clean.
That said, if the Red Sox did in fact acquire Braun from Milwaukee, I wouldn’t complain too much, at least for this season. At age 32, he’s still a solid fielder, and his bat is alive as ever: hitting over .300 on the season, with nine home runs and 30 runs batted in. He’d fit in perfectly in the Sox’ one position of semi vulnerability: left field.
Brock Holt has not been Brock Holt this season, and I think it’s because he was pegged as the starting left fielder. I would have made that choice in a heartbeat, choosing him over Rusney Castillo, but Holt seems destined to be a utility player. It’s best for him and the team. Chris Young is a fine fourth outfielder, but that’s really all he is: insurance. Ryan Braun is the real deal, and at least for 2016, he’d be a pretty good addition to this team.
Milwaukee would almost certainly have to eat some of the money involved in the deal, and even then, I don’t think it would cost too much to get him to Boston. I’m thinking something like two or three prospects in the 15-25 ranking, Rusney Castillo, and Henry Owens or Brian Johnson. The Brewers can’t nitpick here. They have to accept what they can get, and be happy to take Braun’s money off the books.