According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers have had preliminary talks surrounding left-fielder Ryan Braun. Nightengale adds that the Giants are looking everywhere for an outfielder.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 13, 2016
With Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan injured there’s an obvious need for a quality outfielder, but the market isn’t attractive this season. Guys like Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp are available but they are expensive and have played poorly the past couple seasons.
Long time Giants beat writer, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, said he doesn’t see the club making a big move. Schulman brought up Jeff Francoeur as “the type of player” the Giants could target. I don’t know why they would want him or anybody like him, but they’ve done it before with Marlon Byrd last year.
In June, I can see a small strategic deal to balance the lineup. Blockbuster would surprise me unless MIL determined to dump Braun salary.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 13, 2016
Braun, 32, is having a great season at the plate slashing .316/.378/.541 with a 141 wRC+, but is owed around $90 million. He can’t block a trade to the Giants, but his contract could be difficult to work around, because he is owed $18 million in deferred money from 2022 to 2031. He is due about $13 million this season, $19 million in 2017, $19 million in 2018, $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and a $15 million mutual option (with a $4 million buyout) in 2021.
The Giants’ top prospects, according to MLB.com, include infielder Christian Arroyo and pitchers Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford. It seems likely the Brewers would eat some salary to get at least one of their top guys, but do the Giants want to pay a 32-year-old $80 million as well as give up multiple prospects? If they make the trade, a healthy Giants outfield would be Braun, Denard Span, Pence, an average age of over 32, and more than $150 million owed.
Even if the trade doesn’t happen, San Francisco will still be looking at other options, because their current outfield of Mac Williamson, Span, Jarrett Parker, and Gregor Blanco will push them towards the bottom of outfield productivity. As a team, Giants’ outfielders currently rank 15th in fWAR, but 28th in fWAR the last 14 days.