By Adam Roberts – 10/30/2020
After a career that has spanned three decades in Milwaukee, the Hammerin’ Hebrew’s time with the Brewers may be over.
Yesterday, the Brewers declined the 15 million dollar mutual option for 2021 on veteran outfielder Ryan Braun, making the 37-year-old a free agent for the first time in his 14 year career. Braun has played every one of his 14 seasons in Milwaukee, and is one of those players many would probably say they couldn’t see wearing another team’s colors. Then again, we all thought that about Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and Joe Montana.
Braun is due a 4 million dollar buyout now, and will next make the decision on whether or not to retire, hope to re-sign with Milwaukee, or pursue his options elsewhere. His rapport with the Brewers’ coaches and front office staff has always been high, so it doesn’t seem like he has much reason to want to play elsewhere for personal reasons. But retirement may be the most expected outcome, after Braun repeatedly said this season could be his last. Throughout the abridged 2020 season, Braun suffered from injury issues, including the back injury that kept him out of Game Two of the Wild Card Series against the Dodgers, and had a career-low batting average of .233 with 7 home runs and 27 RBIs in 39 of 60 games played.
Regardless of what happens, Braun’s place in the history of Brewers’ baseball can’t be understated. He was an integral part of the 2011 NLCS team, as well as the 2008 Wild Card team that was the first playoff Brewers squad in 26 years. He also was the 2007 Rookie of the Year during an 83-79 season, the first winning season in Milwaukee since 1992, and a six-time All Star. Braun has hit the most home runs as a Brewer with 352, and is second in franchise history in RBIs, extra-base hits, total bases, and doubles.