Ryan Braun remains Milwaukee's long term future (Video)

The Milwaukee Brewers enter the 2011 season as one of the favorites in the National League. The two undisputed leaders of the club are left fielder Ryan Braun and first baseman Prince Fielder. Both star players will be key contributors during this season's push, but only one of these sluggers will most likely be a part of the team's long term future.

Fielder is set to become a free agent next winter, commanding a salary that may price him out of the state of Wisconsin. On the other hand, Braun will almost certainly remain on the shores of Lake Michigan for many years to come.  

The Los Angeles native is playing under a contract that runs through 2015, at a relatively reasonable rate for the Brewers (8-year/$45 million). Braun chose long term financial security over the risk of waiting until free agency to seek a mega contract.  He will be 32-years-old when his current deal expires.

Braun has lived up to every expectation, since being drafted fifth overall in the 2005 Draft. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2007, Braun has been an All-Star every year since.

Regardless of what happens with Fielder, the Brewers will be able to build their team around a star player for four guaranteed seasons. This is a luxury that has already paid dividends, when star pitcher Zach Greinke agreed to take the Brewers off his “no trade” list of teams. Milwaukee acquired the 2009 Cy Young Award winner from the Kansas City Royals, during the offseason.

The Brewers are a factor these days. Having Braun locked up until 2015 is a significant reason why.

Below are multiple pieces of video highlighting Braun during spring training. These clips were taken on March 3, at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix.