With Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog reporting that the Milwaukee Brewers would prefer to trade Ryan Braun than other players on their team, along with the Brewers' reported interest in Ike Davis, the New York Mets should trade for Ryan Braun.
The last time Braun was in the news, he was the villain of Major League Baseball. He was a cheater and liar in the eyes of the public, as well as a downright bad person with how he attacked Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected his urine sample.
For all of Braun’s perceived character flaws, he is still one of the most talented hitters in all of baseball, and acquiring a player of his abilities is not an opportunity that presents itself often.
Acquiring an impact bat through a trade is a route the Mets may take if they feel like the free-agent options are overpriced, but this becomes more difficult if Sandy Alderson stands by his claims that he is not willing to trade pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. Ryan Braun presents the opportunity to make a trade while retaining the prized pitching prospect.
The Brewers are a small-market team who chose to build around Ryan Braun. Milwaukee is now in a rebuilding situation, with their only talented young players being Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura. To make things worse, Bleacher Report's Adam Wells had their farm system ranked as the worst in the league following the 2013 MLB Draft.
With competing in the near future an unlikely goal, it would make sense for the Brewers to separate themselves from both the bad publicity and the expensive contract associated with Braun while acquiring pieces for their barren farm system.
Disregarding the fact that Braun would be under the New York spotlight as a baseball villain, as a player he fits the Mets perfectly. He provides power and protection for David Wright in the lineup and plays a position (left field) where the Mets lack any depth.
In the former MVP’s career, he had only one season with a slugging percentage below .500, which was last year in his suspension-shortened season (in which he slugged .498). In comparison, free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has recorded a slugging percentage of over .500 only once in his career, in 2008 for Cleveland.
He is also a complete hitter, evidenced by the laser of an opposite-field home run in the above video. Braun’s offensive abilities cannot be understated, as few players in the league bring the same prowess to a lineup that Braun does.
The Mets could also acquire Braun without giving up the same assets that would be needed for sluggers such as Jose Bautista, Carlos Gonzalez or Giancarlo Stanton. Because of how the Brewers would benefit from dealing Braun by ridding themselves of his contract and bad publicity, the Mets could likely create a package Milwaukee would accept that would not include Syndergaard.
A deal including some combination of Ike Davis, Rafael Montero, Brandon Nimmo and a number of lower-level arms, like Gabriel Ynoa and Domingo Tapia, could potentially be enough to acquire Braun.
The Mets need to acquire talent to complement David Wright and the team's young pitching, and Ryan Braun, despite his character flaws, is one of the most prolific offensive forces in the league. Along with the potential development of young players like Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores, adding a player like Braun to the Mets lineup could propel the team to the top of the National League East in 2014 and beyond.