Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brewers Step Up to Keep Braun

It's an exciting day to be a Brewers fan. After a couple of high profile misses -- C.C. Sabathia and Prince Fielder -- they locked up Ryan Braun through 2020 with an option for 2021. In effect, Braun will be a Brewer for life. Hopefully, he will be this generation's Robin Yount.

That's a lot to ask, but Braun has been a star since he first hit the big club. During that time Prince Fielder has grabbed the headlines, but Braun has steadily banged out home runs and run the bases like a demon. It doesn't hurt that Fielder bats after him forcing pitchers to throw to Braun.

His home run production gets him mentioned in the same breath as sluggers like Kiner, Pujols and Mathews. He is fast on the bases and runs out every ground ball. The only knock on him is is his defense. At times he can make spectacular catches in left, while at other times he is reticent to come in on fly balls. His throwing can be erratic: He has a strong arm but he can make wild throws.

This seems like the dawning of new era for the Brew Crew. In the past couple years they have offered big money contracts to Sabathia and Fielder. C.C. left for the Yankees and Prince and his agent, Scott Boras, rejected the Brewers' big offer to play the free agency game.

This time, the Brewers got their man. He's just the sort of brash, talented player the franchise needs to be competitive. Under owner Mark Attanasio, the Brewers have become a respectable franchise. Over the winter they made moves to shore up the starting pitching by adding Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

It's been a long time since the Brewers have been relevant. Now, taking Attanasio at his word that he has no interest in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, they could be relevant for years to come.

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