The Brewers were the team that won the claim for Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Milwaukee engaged in serious conversations about acquiring the 25-year-old before the waiver placement was revoked by Los Angeles.
Intriguingly, the trade dialogue between the two organizations included star Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. It seems reasonably likely that there were quite a few other moving parts involved, but those two players undoubtedly make for fascinating centerpieces on either side.
It is not yet clear whether the clubs intend to revisit the matter in the offseason, though it certainly seems plausible. Los Angeles was not interested in parting with Puig unless it obtained a “better player” in the swap, per Rosenthal. If that remains true this winter, then Braun — who is older and more expensive — would certainly fit the mold of the type of asset that could be pursued.
Puig remains controllable for three more seasons, his age-26 through age-28 campaigns. Two of those are guaranteed at $14MM total, and Puig can still opt into arbitration, but the total commitment falls shy of his talent level. The question, of course, is whether his poor recent play and somewhat spotty track record at maintaining focus can be reversed.
There’s really no question as to the current performance level of Braun, who is carrying a .312/.374/.544 batting line with 24 home runs and 14 steals over 468 plate appearances this year. But he will turn 33 in November and has battled through a laundry list of injury issues.
Braun does have a rather robust no-trade clause, but the Dodgers are not on this year’s iteration, meaning he can be traded there without his consent — at least until he has his next opportunity to modify the list. Even assuming his PED past is mostly a non-issue at this point, Braun’s large contract is also a factor in limiting his marketability. He is owed $76MM over the next four years, including the buyout on a $15MM option for 2021.