Ryan Braun trade rumor: Heading to Mets for a first baseman?

Mike McGinnis

So this seemed pretty exciting when I saw the headline somewhere:

There is a better chance the Brewers trade OF Ryan Braun for Mets 1B Ike Davis than deal OF Norichika Aoki, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking.

Milwaukee is trying to make room for OF prospect Khris Davis, and they’re also looking for a left-handed power bat at first base (Sherman).

“They’ve indicated that they have extra first basemen, and we have a need,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin said during the GM Meetings (MLB.com).

source: MetsBlog

Oh. Maybe not quote so exciting. Here's the way I read that:

* The Brewers would like to trade an outfielder for a first baseman, and

* they don't want to trade Aoki, because he's good and he's cheap, so

* if they have to trade Braun or Aoki, they would prefer to trade Braun, but

* they're probably not going to trade other of them.

That seems about right, doesn't it?

Yes, the Brewers do need a first baseman. What happened last season is, quite frankly, inexcusable: Milwaukee's first basemen combined for a .206/.259/.370 batting line, which is utterly inexcusable for a team that's supposedly trying to contend. And this was predictable! The Brewers entered the season without a legitimate first baseman! Yes, I know Corey Hart got hurt. But there are guys out there who can do better, and management has no excuse for making the fans watch Yuniesky Betancourt start 46 games at first base. None.

So, yeah. Ike Davis, for all the question marks about his future, would look pretty good in a Brewers uniform right now.

I'm just not convinced that management will embrace the embarrassment of trading Ryan Braun so soon after broadcasting their confidence that he was worth a $150 million commitment. I'm not convinced that the Mets have the wherewithal or the faith to assume Braun's contract for the next seven years, even with the Brewers eating some money. And I'm not convinced that Khris Davis is really so good. Davis did hit exceptionally well after taking over for Braun in left field, at the end of July.

What do we know about Khris Davis, really? He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, and has never been young for his league. He's hit steadily while moving through the Brewers' system, but has never been regarded as a particularly hot prospect, and he turns 26 in a few weeks.

Which doesn't mean Davis shouldn't play. He should. The Brewers probably should trade an outfielder, if that's what it takes to get Davis in the lineup every day.

But is that really what it takes? Here's an idea: Why not give Braun a chance to apologize for his perfidy by publicly volunteering to play first base? Is he really too stubborn for that? Would the ex-third baseman really be so terrible at first base? Shouldn't this have happened already?

I'm not saying the Brewers shouldn't trade Braun if there's a reasonable deal on the table.  But for a lot of reasons, I'll surprised if that happens.

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