When Ryan Braun’s 5-year, $105 million extension was announced, we knew that some of that money would be deferred so the team wouldn’t be tying up a quarter of their payroll in one player. A day later, we know just how much money will be deferred, and how long Braun will continue to collect checks after his playing days are over.
According to the Associated Press (via Adam McCalvy’s blog post), Braun will have $4 million of his $19 million salary from 2016-2018 deferred every year, along with $3 million of his $18 million salary in 2018 and $3 million of his $16 million salary in 2020. The mutual option for 2021 would be for $15 million in salary, with a chance to earn another $5 million in award bonuses. If any of those bonuses are met, they would also be deferred. All of the deferments are interest-free.
With these deferments, Braun’s year-to-year payroll hit breaks down the following way:
2016: $15 million, 2017: $15 million, 2018: $15 million, 2019: $15 million, 2020: $13 million
That means through the five guaranteed years of the extension, Braun will have a total of $18 million deferred. He’ll make that money back through equal annual payments every July 1st from 2022 to 2031. If Braun’s 2021 option isn’t picked up, that would mean annual payments of $2 million. That’s a number that sounds like a lot to pay for a guy who isn’t playing, but remember that $2 million in 2011 dollars is significantly more than $2 million will be 20 years from now. Factor in inflation, and it may end up being a very small part of the team’s payroll obligations.
The contract is still a significant risk for the Brewers, but at least deferring a significant chunk every year — especially during the deal’s most expensive seasons — will allow the Brewers some flexibility to keep the team competitive by adding other players.