For the last six weeks, Brian Dozier was the most prominent name linked to the Dodgers. During the mid-summer, that player was Ryan Braun.
In the end, neither are wearing Dodger blue.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said Milwaukee made progress on a deal that would’ve sent Braun to Los Angeles during the season, a rumor that’s since been reported by a number of outlets. The trade fell through, and now he’s convinced Braun is there to stay.
“No, I’m not surprised,” Attanasio said of Braun starting the season in Wisconsin. “I think there was a lot of momentum [toward a trade] last summer, given the challenges the Dodgers had in hitting left-handed pitching and how strong a season he was having. When those talks heated up, there was a decent chance something could have happened. But after it didn’t happen, I actually thought if it wasn’t going to happen then, it wasn’t going to happen. We’re delighted he’s back.”
The trade alluded to would’ve sent Yasiel Puig, Brandon McCarthy and more for Braun. The talks reportedly died because the waiver deadline struck.
Braun put up a .305/.365/.538 line in 2016. His presence in the lefty heavy Dodgers lineup certainly would’ve helped in the NLCS. If the two sides re-explored a trade this offseason, it’s been well hidden. More than likely, L.A. had other priorities in Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and the second baseman hunt that eventually resulted in Logan Forsythe.
The organization is also giving Yasiel Puig another chance. It wanted Puig to lose weight, and he seems to have done just that. Puig said he’s determined to regain his starting spot, in L.A. or somewhere else.
If Puig struggles or Braun picks up where he left off, there’s already groundwork on a trade. There’s a scenario where the Brewers cover deferrals and L.A. gets Braun at a reasonable price. I wrote about that here.
For now, the Dodgers enter spring training with their current glut of outfielders, hopeful to find a rising star in the bunch.