Again, why? Why do we include the contract they previously signed when evaluating the new one? They already had him through age 32 at reasonable money.
Correction: they had him through age 31 at outrageous, unreasonable money.
They didn't have to do this to continue reaping the benefits of the older contract.
Right, of course not. Clearly they did this because they felt Braun was a player worth building around long-term, and this contract is what it would take to wrap him up long-term right now.
Imagine for a moment that Braun was, due to some quirk in his contract, suddenly a free agent right now, heading into his age-29 season. Could he command a $125M contract? Hell yeah. Probably a good deal more than that. And if you *could* sign him for $125M you certainly wouldn't get eight years for it.
Now imagine that the Brewers do nothing and wait till he's an FA after his age 31 season. Is he going to get 5/$91 with a $4M option? Quite possibly. It's not that big a contract for a superstar who's still in his early 30s. If you're the Brewers, is it worth taking the risk that he'll sign that contract with somebody else in order to make sure you don't negate the fantastic bargain you're getting for his next three years? It's a valid question, and obviously the answer depends on how much you see him as a cornerstone piece. The Brewers have pretty clearly indicated that they do. That decision is certainly open to question, but it's one thing to say they made a mistake in wrapping him up long-term (which I think may well be true) and another to say they paid too much to do so (which I think clearly isn't).