Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trade Braun Now, Lucroy Later

We all know that Jonathan Lucroy likely won’t be a Brewer for much longer, and now the most successful -- and controversial -- Brewer in a long time is entering the rumor mill in Ryan Braun.

Braun is having his most successful season since the 2012 redemption season. Through 33 games he’s slashing an astounding .376/.439/.600, numbers that could justify any team taking on the remaining $90 million or so of his contract.

There has been some debate about whether or not Braun and Lucroy should be traded in the same year. This got me thinking, if they only traded only one of those players this year, would it be more beneficial to trade Braun or Lucroy? I think the answer needs to be Braun and here’s why:

  1. He’s Injury Prone
Ok, Braun hasn’t missed a huge percentage of the season since 2013 when he was suspended and injured, he will be on the field if he can be. There is one thing to note about his injuries over the last few years though, they cause a significant drop in his production. Through nagging muscle spasms and thumb injuries he went from a career OPS of .943 to .825. His number are already likely unsustainable throughout the year even if he’s returned to pre-2013 form and is only getting older and more susceptible each passing minute.

  1. He May Never Hold More Value Again
According to his performance from 2013-2015, Braun’s current performance is a stroke of luck. He’s carrying a fairly large price tag -- although small by most other modern MLB contracts -- and a negative perception due to his PED suspension and everything that came with it. The thing is, if he’s performing anywhere close to what he is now by the trading deadline, no one’s going to care. Any team that can get an MVP at his current cost will take all of those bad things, but if we see that production drop off he will go back to being nearly untradeable unless we see another astronomical spike.

On the other hand, Lucroy will only lose some value barring injury. Aside from last year and other freak incidents, Luc doesn’t come with those nagging injury concerns and has been a very consistent performer over the last few years. As long as he continues that straight line projection, he will still hold significant value in the offseason even if teams aren’t getting that extra half-year. You absolutely will lose value but Luc’s value isn’t nearly as volatile as Braun’s is and if I’m wagering a huge amount of prospects on who is most likely to maintain their stock, Luc is the safer bet.

  1. If He Goes I Want to Just Rip the Bandaid Off
I am far from a Braun apologist. He made it hard for me to put blind faith and true fandom into athletes. It was a valuable lesson most adults should learn, players can hurt you but the logo and team will always -- in most cases -- be there. However, something inside of me still cheers hard for Braun. He is a huge part of some of the most significant Brewer moments of my life time. I’ll never forget his huge home runs in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He is a part of my number one most cherished Brewers memory, CC Sabathia’s complete game victory over the Cubs. I don’t want to spend every season wondering if he’s gone or not, so rip off the bandaid and send him packing. I can watch Lucroy go, I’ve been campaigning for it longer than most fans and as much as I’ve liked him he is more Cecil Cooper than Robin Yount in terms of my personal feelings.

How do you feel about it? Do you want both Braun and Lucroy to be traded this season? Do you want one to be traded or the other? Or do you want them both to hang around? Weigh in on my Twitter poll.