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The Brewers' free-agent deal with Chris Carter temporarily put this talk to rest, but I am guessing it will come up again, so I'd like to address it. Ryan Braun to first base has long been a popular idea among Brewers fans, considering his history as an infielder, the fact he's coming off back surgery in October and the team's glaring need at first base at various points since Prince Fielder's departure. Not to mention the Brewers' depth at the corner outfield spots -- with Braun in right, Khris Davis in left and young Domingo Santana getting at-bats where he can. I get why so many of you have made this proposal. But just like Ron Roenicke before him, Brewers manager Craig Counsell says it isn't happening. He's part of the transcript from Counsell's meeting with reporters during the Winter Meetings:
Q: Has there been even the slightest talk of Ryan Braun moving to first base now that you knew you were going to trade your first baseman?
Q: It's just not going to happen?
Q: Is that because you like what he does in the outfield?
Counsell: Yeah, it's not something we talked about.
Q: It seems like then you'd solve the Santana dilemma and your first base dilemma, [though] I understand that not everybody's a first baseman.
Counsell: Right. I think sometimes it's not as simple as musical -- these aren't just the same chair they're sitting in. The positions are different. They're different chairs. So it's not as simple as a game of musical chairs."
So, that's the answer. I hope it satisfies those of you who continue to propose the idea.
I'm not a fan of the word "shopped," but it's true Davis found his way into the rumor mill after the New Year thanks to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB Network and FoxSports.com, who wrote, "With so many free- agent alternatives still available at the position, this isn't the optimal time to trade an outfielder. But look for the Milwaukee Brewers to move left fielder Davis at the July non-waiver Trade Deadline, if not before then. The Brewers are beginning a full rebuild under first-year general manager David Stearns, and Davis (with a powerful bat and manageable salary) is one of his best trade chips."
Morosi noted that Davis and White Sox slugger Jose Abreu are the only Major Leaguers to hit at least 60 home runs in 325 or fewer games over the past three seasons. With power in short supply around baseball these days, that indeed gives Davis value as a trade piece, and the Brewers are stocked with young outfielders. A trade for Davis, who will be arbitration-eligible following the 2016 season, wouldn't be surprising at all.
... Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, Matt Garza and Chase Anderson. That's how I'd line it up, with Zach Davies, Jorge Lopez and Ariel Pena representing the second line of defense at Triple-A and Adrian Houser and Josh Hader pushing hard. It's a big year for Peralta, who was ineffective and injured for a lot of 2015, and for Nelson, who has an opportunity to take a big step forward like Peralta did between 2013 and 2014. Counsell faces an interesting choice for Opening Day; give it to Peralta, who is probably his most talented pitcher, or to Garza as a peace offering, and because they really need him? Stay tuned.
Anything is possible in this world of ours. But as he is due $25 million for the next two years, while coming off a 5.63 ERA and a September spent in relative exile, I would bet against.