Jim Bowden Suggests Mariners Try For Ryan Braun


The Seattle Mariners’ search for a right-handed bat is well documented. We have speculated and reported on speculation involving a great number of potential free agents and trade targets. Not once – I don’t think – have we heard the name Ryan Braun.

Now Jim Bowden posted on ESPN Insider (Subscription required) some trade suggestions that involve three teams (always a more difficult trade to pull off).

In the article, Bowden suggests a trade between the Rangers, Mets and Braves that involves Justin Upton. Another trade involves the Red Sox, Philies and Reds involving Yoenis Cespedes and Cole Hamels.

But it’s the one he suggests with Seattle that has left me scratching my head. According to Bowden, here is his potential trade.

Milwaukee Brewers get: Matt Kemp from Dodgers, Brad Miller from Mariners

Los Angeles Dodgers get: James Paxton from Mariners, Jean Segura from Brewers

Seattle Mariners get: Ryan Braun from Brewers

Bowden goes on to suggest that the Mariners would have to acquire a back-end of the rotation starter like Brandon McCarthy or Kyle Kendrick to fill Paxton’s spot. But just looking at the trade on its own merits; does anyone else feel like Seattle gets the worst end of this?

Braun was the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, and a five-time All-Star before being busted for PED use. You can say what you will about whether his sample was tampered with or not, but the stats speak for themselves.

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In the five years prior to his PED suspension, Braun averaged a slash line of .312/.375/.559 with an average of 33 HR and 109 RBI including leading the NL in 2012 with 41 HR.

In 2013, he played 61 games before being suspended the rest of the season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. In 2014, he played in 135 games, missing time because of a nerve problem in his thumb which he had surgery for in October.

Over the past two years – presumably without any PEDs – Braun averaged a slash line of .275/.348/.476 with a total of 28 HR and 119 RBI over 196 games. Those numbers are well below his previous five-year average.

Ryan Braun is owed a relatively mild $13M in 2015 before his contract jumps to $20M over the next three years, $19M in 2019, $17M in 2020 and a $21M mutual option for 2021. Contractually speaking, it’s a decent move for the Mariners.

Defensively, Braun spent most of 2014 playing right field. Though he has also played left since moving from 3B which he played his rookie season. He’s not a tremendous defender (career -5.6 dWAR), but his bat can make up for a lot in the field.

But what Ryan Braun are you getting?

If his problem in 2014 was indeed his ailing thumb – which is said to be healed – then this might be a decent move. Though many people value James Paxton and do not wish to move him. Though this move also means the Mariners keep Taijuan Walker, which will please many fans.

Regardless of whether this deal is plausible or not, it just goes to show that there are potential deals out there that aren’t always reported on or thought of by many people until it happens. Who thought Josh Donaldson would be traded?