We heard recently that the Dodgers and Brewers had worked on an August trade that would have sent Yasiel Puig to Milwaukee in exchange for fellow outfielder Ryan Braun. New reports provide interesting new details on the swap, which nearly took place and could well be a viable scenario for the coming winter.
One iteration of the talks would have packaged Puig with righty Brandon McCarthy and a pair of prospects, as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy recently reported. Indeed, negotiations went right down to the wire before the August 31st deadline, with Braun camping out in the Miller Park clubhouse to await word. The sides “simply ran out of time,” per McCalvy, who adds that both the Giants and Braves have stated interest in the veteran slugger.
Whether or not other trade partners will be reconsidered remains to be seen, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that an offseason deal to send Braun to the Dodgers is actually “likely.” According to the report, Braun was advised by the Brewers to stick around and wait until the deadline because a deal seemed so promising at that juncture. Ultimately, the final prospect piece couldn’t be agreed upon.
Braun declined to address the matter, but did note that he grew up a Dodgers fan and spends his winters in the Los Angeles area. “When those conversations started, I think it was an interesting position for me to be in,” he said. Braun’s contract requires him to list up to six teams to which he can freely be traded, and the Dodgers were one club that had a green light this year. If he wanted to gain leverage, he could in theory switch the Dodgers out of that position when his next opportunity to re-name the teams arises, though it seems that Braun has compiled his list based primarily on geographic preference.
The above-noted trade parameters are obviously quite interesting, even before learning what type of prospects would’ve been included. McCarthy’s inclusion would help offset the $76MM in salary obligations owed to Braun after this year, as the veteran hurler will be paid $20MM over the next two seasons and has only just returned from Tommy John surgery. But he also might have filled some innings for Milwaukee while representing an interesting potential bounceback trade piece — especially if his 2019 conditional club option is available. (It has not been reported what type of injury would allow that option to be triggered, but it functions as a variation of the Lackey clause.)