The Brewers extended left fielder Ryan Braun through the 2020 season, the team announced. The extension is for five years and $105MM, tweets CAA Sports, while MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has the year-by-year breakdown. The contract includes a mutual option for 2021 worth up to $20MM with a $4MM buyout. McCalvy notes that the deal includes a $10MM signing bonus, a no-trade provision, and some deferred salary. The deferrals were key to the deal, CAA agent Nez Balelo told McCalvy.
Braun was already under contract through 2015 on a precedent-setting deal. As I noted on Monday, the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki is the only other player under contract through the 2020 season. Braun and Tulo were drafted fifth and seventh overall in 2005, respectively, and both tacked monster extensions on top of their old team-friendly contracts in 2011. Like Tulo's deal, Braun's contract actually takes a dip in salary toward the end. My biggest concern with Tulo's deal was the difficulty in projecting injury risk rather than performance decline. Braun seems a safer bet than Tulowitzki to remain healthy, though Braun signed his contract even further away from free agency and does not play a premium position.
Braun's new contract represents the largest contract in Brewers history, as did his previous $45MM deal. His agency notes the $21MM average annual value on the new extension is the second-highest ever for an outfielder, ranking behind only Manny Ramirez's $22.5MM AAV on his last Dodgers deal. Among all position players, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, and Alex Rodriguez also have higher AAVs.
Braun will turn 37 shortly after his contract ends, so he may be a Brewer for his entire career, notes Balelo. Braun's career batting line so far: .308/.367/.557 with 133 home runs in 2627 plate appearances. This is likely his final season playing alongside the Brewers' other superstar slugger, Prince Fielder, who will be eligible for free agency.