If there was anyone out there who still thought the Cardinals over-reached when they paid Matt Holliday $17 million a year over seven years, please consider the extension the Brewers passed out today to Ryan Braun.
The Milwaukee left fielder will get $21 million a year from 2015-2020. Braun was already under contract through 2014 thanks to a deal he signed in his second season in the majors that paid him $45 million. Braun is 27 years old. He'll be 37 when the new contract is up.
Braun is a .308 hitter who averages 25 homers and 108 RBIs per season while Holliday is a .319 career hitter who averages 26 homers and 101 RBIs a year.
I'm guessing the move was an olive branch to Brewers fans since the club seems certain to let Prince Fielder walk as a free agent at the end of the season. (Perhaps not unlike the Cardinals decision to sign Holliday in 2010 in anticipation that Albert Pujols might leave after this season.)
Since he's hitting .359 with five homers so far this season, I think it's fair to say that Braun was able to negotiate an extension in-season without creating too much of a distraction.