Back in the day there was a time when superstars played their entire careers with one baseball team, good or bad. However, today most small market ball clubs will often lose their superstars because they cannot afford to risk their entire salary on one player. Unlike the days when Robin Yount was the Milwaukee Brewers MVP and career team player, salaries and money have everything to do with a teams players, and teams will trade away their star for draft picks rather than lose them for nothing in the off-season.
Nevertheless, it appears as though the Milwauke Brewers have embarked on some old, but not too often treaded ground when it comes to team members. Last week Major League Baseball got a little bit of its past back when the Milwaukee Brewers signed Ryan Braun through the 2020 season, ensuring that Braun could finish his career with the only team he’s ever known.
In just four seasons in the major league, Braun has taken the MLB by storm. His long list of accomplishments include being named National League Rookie of the Year for 2007, being named to the All-Star team three times, and he is one of just five players in baseball history to hit 125 home runs and bat .300 over his first four seasons, joining the likes of Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio. Back in May 2008, Braun signed a seven-year deal worth $45 million to keep him with the Brewers until 2015, but the new deal for an additional five years at $105 million keeps Ryan Braun with Milwaukee through 2020.
In his first plate appearance since signing his extension, Braun was greeted at the plate with a standing ovation. And in a script best written for a movie, Braun obliged the hometown crowd by crushing a three-run home run to left-center field.
And despite the fact that Prince Fielder turned down a five-year, $100 million contract with the Brewers, Braun is the player who shows gratitude and devotion to the team and its fans. He is no doubt all those things, as well as a fantastic baseball player and a guy who likes the city of Milwaukee. But he is also being paid $105 million for his gratitude and devotion.
In the end, the contract extension for Ryan Braun is not only good for Milwaukee, it’s also good for baseball. A small-market ball club keeps its star and for baseball purists, it’s a good thing.