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Ryan Braun Says He's Willing To Play Anywhere The Brewers Want Him To, Possibly Even Second Base

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

In case you missed it, the Brewers made some noise last week when they traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain to a five-year deal worth $80 million. Adding the pair of outfielders was a big time upgrade for Milwaukee, who missed capturing that second Wild Card spot in the National League by just one game this past season. However, in adding both Yelich and Cain to their outfield, they created a little predicament in terms of who is going to fit where in 2018. You’ve got 11-year Brewers veteran Ryan Braun in left, Cain in center and Yelich in right, although you could flip-flop Cain and Yelich, if you wanted to.

The odd man out in the Brewers outfield, it would seem, would be Domingo Santana. Last year, Santana played 144 games for the Brewers, all of them in right field. In his age-25 season, Santana broke out by hitting .278 with an .875 OPS, 30 homers, 29 doubles, and 85 RBI. Obviously that’s a bat that the Brewers aren’t in a hurry to rid themselves of. Could they dangle Santana in a trade for some pitching help? Sure they could, but I’d be too tempted to find a way to keep Santana’s bat in there with the others.

So, how do you do it? Well, you can’t move Braun back to third base, where he won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2007, because Travis Shaw is there. You can’t move Shaw over to first base to make room for Braun at third because Eric Thames is there. But what if…Braun moves to second base?

I wouldn’t bank on it actually happening, but I’d be interested to see what Braun at second base looks like. I imagine it won’t be very pretty, given that Braun was trash at third base and that was a decade ago, so his infield defense probably hasn’t improved over ten years as an outfielder.

That being said, Braun has hit .288 with an .864 OPS over the last three seasons, so it might be worth it to look at some creative options in order to have a lineup that looks something like Cain, Yelich, Thames, Braun, Shaw, Santana, Manny Pina/Stephen Vogt, Orlando Arcia, pitcher. That’s a DEEP lineup that should absolutely do some serious damage. Last season, Cain, Yelich, Thames, Braun, Shaw, and Santana combined to hit .276 with an .840 OPS, got on base at a combined .359 clip, hit 180 doubles, 142 home runs, scored 499 runs, and drove in 431 runs.