Longtime Brewers stalwart Ryan Braun isn’t in the lineup for their Game 2 matchup against the Dodgers on Thursday. Braun explained why, telling Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and other reporters that he has been dealing with a strained left oblique since Sunday.
Not only could this injury end Braun’s season (especially with the Brewers facing elimination against what looks like the majors’ best team), but it might conclude his career in Milwaukee. The 36-year-old outfielder/designated hitter has a $15M mutual option for 2021, but the Brewers are likely to buy it out for $4M on the heels of a regular season in which he slashed a career-worst .233/.281/.488 with eight home runs in 141 plate appearances.
If this is the last we’ve seen of Braun as a Brewer, it’ll go down as a memorable tenure. The 2005 first-round pick is one of the most productive players in franchise history, having batted .296/.358/.532 with 352 homers and 216 steals across 7,340 PA. Braun has also won a Rookie of the Year, gone to the All-Star Game six times and taken home an NL MVP as a Brewer, but many see his MVP victory as tainted because of a failed drug test that led to a 65-game suspension in 2013.
Regardless of opinions over Braun’s career, and no matter if he’s a Brewer in 2021, it seems he wants to keep playing next season. Braun stated in July he’s “more likely” than not to continue his career.