Brewers Acquire Marlins’ Christian Yelich

Christian Yelich has five more years remaining on his contract.
(Photo: Corn Farmer)

Despite recording 86 wins and finishing just a game out of the Wild Card in 2017, the Brewers have been pretty quiet this offseason. Of course, a lot of teams have been pretty quiet this offseason. Milwaukee added Jhoulys Chacin, which helps, and they’ve brought back Yovani Gallardo, which might help. But little more than that.

Well, until now. The Brewers’ offseason just got loud. In the midst of a busy winter themselves, the Marlins — who’ve already moved Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon — have now sent what is likely their most valuable asset, Christian Yelich — to Milwaukee.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic had it first, and the Brewers made it official.

Brewers receive:

  • Christian Yelich, OF

Marlins receive:

We expected that the package would be significant given Yelich’s talent and a contract that will pay him around $10 million a year for the next five seasons. It is big with Brinson as the headliner. The young outfielder just appeared 18th on Baseball America’s recently released top-100 list, while Eric Lohenhagen placed a 60 future-value grade on Brinson, making him one of the best prospects in baseball.

The deal isn’t just Brinson and filler, either. Longenhagen listed Monte Harrison as the third-best prospect in the Brewers system, with Isan Diaz close behind at the six spot. All three profile as average regulars at least. Yamamoto is more of a project, but he has an above-average curveball.

Just a few days ago, Jeff Sullivan examined a potential Brewers trade for Yelich:

What the Brewers have assembled is a cheap, young foundation. They have dozens of would-be major-league contributors, average starters or plug-in role players. Everyone has his own share of upside. But looking at the 2018 Steamer projections, the Brewers don’t have a single player in the top 150. By WAR, you find Jimmy Nelson ranked at No. 156, and Nelson seemed to break out last season as an ace, but he’s also going to miss the start of the regular season, because he’s coming off major shoulder surgery. And Nelson, it turns out, is the Brewers’ only player in the top 300. I don’t mean to suggest that Steamer is flawless, and I don’t mean to suggest that Ryan Braun or Domingo Santana or Chase Anderson are bad. But this isn’t a club with an obvious star. The best player is a question mark, because of his health. Stars aren’t everything, but good teams tend to need them, which could explain the Brewers’ pursuits. They know they already have plenty of upside, but it’d be good to also have some higher-end certainty.

The Brewers have that higher-end certainty. They might still do more.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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4 years ago


4 years ago
Reply to  KindleT

And now they signed Cain.

Hot damn, it’s a hot stove!

Roger McDowell Hot Foot
4 years ago
Reply to  HappyFunBall

Weird pair of moves to put together — Cain at 5/80 would’ve been my pick to do instead of Yelich, not in addition — but man, today has seen a big improvement to the Milwaukee outfield for years to come.

Shirtless Bartolo Colon
4 years ago

For the first time this year, more movement in the hot stove than in my bowels.

4 years ago

Two movements in one day! Talk about irregular.

Jeff Sullivan Salmon Feast
4 years ago
Reply to  rizdak

Colon puns never stink.

Dag Gummit
4 years ago

“Colon puns never stink.”

Unlike, of course Colón/ cologne puns.

4 years ago

I actually think it makes total sense that they paired them. The Brewers otherwise would have blocked both Brinson and Harrison.

I actually saw the Cain deal first and thought “ugh, that’s not a good deal at all” and it still isn’t a good deal in a vacuum because the back half of that contract is going to be capital-U-Ugly…but now it is understandable because they’ve decided they want to go for it the next couple of years.

4 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

For 80M in FA, that gets approximately 9-11 WAR; Cain just produced 4 wins in one season. Vacuum or not, it’s a pretty good deal and the same can be said for the Yelich trade.

4 years ago
Reply to  forum199

The Yelich trade was a good deal for both sides. The Cain deal…man, in year 5 he’s going to be worthless.

Don’t benchmark this to actual rates of $/win in that past–those are worthless for this sort of comparison. That just demonstrates how bad free agent buys have been, not what you’re expecting to get.

Anchor it in comparison to the deals that have been signed by position players, like Carlos Santana. Is this better or worse than that? If you think Santana holds on and produces 9 WAR (maybe a little less?) for $60 million, then we’re looking at about $7 million per win.

By that number, Cain needs to produce about 11.5 WAR. If he holds his value for five years at his projection this year, that’s a really good deal–that’s 16.5 WAR. If he depreciates by 20% each year (which is what is expected for his decline this year), that’s about 10 WAR.

Okay, I’m convinced this is not that bad of a contract, but it’s still going to be ugly in five years when he’s a 1-WAR player making $15 million. I still don’t like it in a vacuum, but it isn’t as bad as it looks at first glance as long as you think he doesn’t fall off a cliff in year 4 and produce nothing.

4 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

It seems like you identified your own bad reasoning in the middle of writing this comment, but then for some reason kept going anyway.

4 years ago
Reply to  WellIDoubtThat

I’m not going to write all that out and then not post it.

It’s not a terrible deal in a vacuum, but not a great one either. It’s…okay, with more downside than upside.

Travis Lmember
4 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Steamer has him at a 3 WAR player this year. Normal aging curve goes 3, 2.5, 2, 1.5, 1=10WAR, which makes the overall cost $ / WAR at $8mm, or below what wins normally go for.