Thursday, May 15, 2008

Breaking: Braun signs eight-year deal (seven-year extension)

One of the main Brewers concerns has been addressed today. Less than a week after RFB posted a rumor of an extension, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has reportedly signed a seven-year, $45MM extension with the organization. The record-setting deal for a player with zero to three years experience is considered by the team to span eight years, but includes this season. No word on whether these new terms will augment his $455,000 salary for 2008. More HERE and HERE.

Braun, 24, is considered to have "zero-plus" seasons of big league experience, and would not have been eligible for salary arbitration until the 2011 season and free agency until the 2014 season. The contract reportedly signed by Braun will cover all of his arbitration years and forego free agency until after the 2015 season.

At an average annual salary of less than $6MM, this is a great deal in my opinion. In the wake of a rising trend of locking up promising youngsters (i.e. Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria and yesterday's inking of Scott Kazmir), a signing of either Braun or - to a lesser extent - Corey Hart at some point this season seemed to be a must for the club. Though the team is giving Braun an astronomical raise from what they could pay him prior to 2011, they too are warding off was likely to have been staggering arbitration and free agent numbers if Braun was to remain even near his current level of production. In short, I love this deal.

I'm sure (or sincerely hope) the other guys chime in with their thoughts of this record-setting contract for both the Brewers organization and for a player with fewer than three season of big league service.

Update: In addition to the terms posted above, Braun will get a $2.3MM signing bonus to be added to his salary this season. He can also earn possible escalators based on service time and "Super 2" status that could bring his salary up to $51MM.

Tom Haudricourt's article also indicates Brauns deal carries "a full no-trade clause for four years, a limited clause (12 teams), the next two years and a further limited clause (six teams) the final two years."

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