The Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers just couldn’t beat the buzzer.
Several executives with direct knowledge of the teams’ trade talks told USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale that the Dodgers and Brewers were about 20 minutes from completing a deal involving well-known outfielders Yasiel Puig and Ryan Braun before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.
The rebuilding Brewers reportedly were on the verge of trading Braun to the contending Dodgers in exchange for Puig, injured veteran pitcher Brandon McCarthy and prospects. Los Angeles reportedly would have paid the entire $76 million remaining on Braun’s contract.
The deal was so close to happening, according to Nightengale, that Braun was advised to stay around the Brewers’ clubhouse Aug. 31 until the deadline expired.
“I think it would be inappropriate for me to get into any detail about any of that stuff,” Braun told USA TODAY Sports. “Obviously, I live in Los Angeles in the offseason. I grew up a Dodger fan. When those conversations started, I think it was an interesting position for me to be in.
“But I love Milwaukee. I’m happy being a Brewer. And if those conversations were to continue (in the offseason), we’ll see where they lead.”
It’s still possible that Braun ends up in L.A. and Puig lands with Milwaukee before next season. According to Nightengale, negotiations lasted all the way up until the 11:59 p.m. ET deadline on Aug. 31 and officials vowed to revisit the trade talks this winter.
Puig, who was demoted at the time of the reported trade discussions, has since returned to the majors and is performing well, but Braun is in the midst of his best season since 2012. An in-season trade absolutely could have altered the course of the 2016 Major League Baseball playoffs in some way, shape or form.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images