Current free agent and longtime Brewers' lineup fixture Ryan Braun showed up at Milwaukee's spring training camp on Monday and mentioned the possibility that his playing days are behind him. Braun, 37, said he is "strongly leaning" toward retirement after 14 MLB seasons.
"Obviously, I'm strongly leaning in that direction but until I get to a point where I've completely made my mind up, I just don't see any sense in making it official at this point," he said (via jsonline.com).
Braun has made just about $145 million in his playing career. If he still had a big itch and was willing to play anywhere for pretty much any type of deal, he could surely find work, though. Yes, he only hit .233 last season, but he still clubbed eight homers in 129 at-bats and he hit .285/.343/.505 (116 OPS+) with 22 homers and 11 steals in 144 games in 2019. He'd be fine as a DH or bench bat, in all likelihood.
Still, it's possible Braun is at the point in his life where he doesn't want a new home just to keep playing. He was drafted by the Brewers and has never played for another franchise.
If he does call it a career, it's a decorated one. He played only 113 games his rookie year in 2007, but still had 34 homers and 97 RBI with a .324 average and NL-best .634 slugging. He won Rookie of the Year. He added an MVP in 2011. Along the way, he made six All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers. He's led the league at different points in runs, hits, homers, slugging (twice), OPS (twice) and total bases. He has three top-three finishes in MVP voting.
Though he never got to a World Series, Braun was part of five playoff teams, including two that went to the NLCS. In 27 playoff games, he hit .330/.368/.491 with 16 RBI.
Of course, Braun's hopes for jumping into even the periphery of the Hall of Fame discussion (he's 25th all-time in JAWS among left fielders, two spots ahead of Hall of Famer Jim Rice) likely falls apart due to his connection to the Biogenesis scandal that landed him a 65-game suspension in 2013.
In terms of Brewers history, Braun is an all-timer. He's third in WAR with the team behind Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. He's fifth in batting average, 10th in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, third in runs, third in hits, second in doubles, third in triples, second in RBI, second in OPS+ and third in stolen bases.
Braun is the franchise leader in home runs in a landslide (352; Yount is second with 251).