The no-trade protection in Ryan Braun’s contract allows the star outfielder to block a deal to every team besides the Angels, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins and Padres, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Like most players with partial no-trade clauses, Braun has the ability to change the teams on his no-trade list each year; last season, the Angels, Dodgers, Marlins, Nationals and Rays were the only clubs that escaped Braun’s veto power.
Braun is in his first season of a five-year, $105MM extension that he signed way back in 2011, when he still had almost five full years remaining on his previous extension with the Brewers. It’s been a roller-coaster for Braun and the Brewers ever since — superstar seasons in 2011 and 2012, a 65-game suspension in 2013 for his role in the Biogenesis scandal and some recurring injuries, particularly to his thumb.
Braun rebounded for a very productive year in 2015, though his future salary commitments have made him a possible trade chip now that the Brewers are rebuilding. That same contract, as well as Braun’s age (32) and PED history, could also just as easily limit his trade market unless the Brewers ate some salary in a trade or took on another big contract.
There are any number of reasons why a player could include or omit a team on a no-trade list, though in Braun’s case, geography could be a factor. Braun was born and raised in the Los Angeles suburbs and he went to school at the University of Miami, which could explain why the Angels, Dodgers and Marlins didn’t appear on either no-trade list. The Dodgers and Marlins are rather unlikely trade partners, however, given that both teams are already set for corner outfielders. The Angels have a big vacancy in left field, though they may not be a fit for Braun for a variety of other reasons, as Rosenthal explained yesterday.
Braun’s southern California roots may also explain why he wouldn’t block a trade to the relatively-nearby D’Backs, Padres or Giants. It generally appears as though Braun would prefer to stay in the National League, as the Angels are the only AL team on his current veto list.
If the Brewers worked out a trade that would send Braun to a team on his no-trade list, of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean the former NL MVP would choose to remain in Milwaukee. He could decide to join a contender rather than stick it out through the Brewers’ rebuilding process. Like other players with no-trade protection, Braun could ask for more financial incentive in order to allow a deal to be consummated. Braun’s deal contains a $15MM mutual option for the 2021 season that can be bought out for $4MM, so it’s possible he could ask to have that option year guaranteed to allow a trade to happen, though that would be a tough ask to give him another $11MM in his age-37 season.