The Brewers opened their regular-season schedule with a home series against the Cardinals, so we haven’t been given a taste of what kind of vitriol Ryan Braun is in for this summer at road parks.
But that will change Monday when Braun and the Brewers head to Chicago for a four-game set against the Cubs. And new teammate Aramis Ramirez, who knows a thing or two about the crowd at Wrigley Field, is expecting the reaction to be rough.
A-Ram spoke about the subject Sunday with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“I think it’s going to be ugly for Braun everywhere we go,” Ramirez said. “On the road, it’s going to be tough for him. He knows it. That’s no secret. Plus, he got a taste of it in spring training. Everywhere we go, he was getting booed.”
“But he’s a good player and he’s tough,” the Brewers third baseman concluded. “He’s tough mentally and I think he’s going to be OK. He’s a good enough player to separate that from his game.”
Braun, of course, had a 50-game PED suspension tossed out this offseason on a successful appeal of the sample-collecting process. He’s 4-for-12 with a homer and a walk through three games this year.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.