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The contract's average annual value of $21 million is the second-highest ever for an outfielder after Manny Ramirez's two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Braun is the third player in history to sign a deal worth an average of at least $20 million a year at age 27 or younger. The others were Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer last year and Alex Rodriguez in 2001.Braun's newest deal includes a no-trade provision, and he will defer some of his salary. "It was solely a function of making sure that we can always build a competitive team around Ryan. Period. End of story," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. "And by working with us on this, I believe we can." Braun signed a $45 million, seven-year extension in 2008 after winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007, which was the largest contract ever by a player with less than one year of service time. That deal has largely been considered as "team friendly" in an era of blockbuster deals, something that still doesn't concern Braun. "If I went back in time, I would sign that contract every time," Braun said. "It provided financial security and ultimately I'm extremely happy with that contract, just like I am with the one that we just agreed to today." Braun is hitting .359 with four homers so far this season and has reached safely in all 18 games. Last year, he earned his third straight Silver Slugger Award with a .304 batting average, 25 homers and 103 RBIs. "I truly believe I can get much better as a player," Braun said. "These first 18 games are probably the best baseball I've played in my career and I really believe that's a sign of things to come." Braun joins Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the player Braun edged out in rookie of the year voting, as the only two players signed through 2020. The only other players signed through 2018 or longer are Mauer and Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Milwaukee has all of its starters and core group outside Prince Fielder signed through 2012, and three other key players -- Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo and Corey Hart -- locked up for several more years. Fielder, a Scott Boras client, is expected to head to free agency at the end of the season. "I know Prince enjoys it here. That's a fact that's undisputed," Braun said. "We've never had more fun playing together than we have since the beginning of spring training. We're really just enjoying baseball right now. I know this is a place he would love to stay." Melvin said that he understands the ongoing talk about Fielder, but everyone remains focused on returning to the postseason since their NL wild-card run three years ago, one of the reasons he traded to get 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. "Our goal is to drop all that confetti off the top of the dome like we did in 2008," Melvin said.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.