The reports are that Christian Yelich has signed a 9-year extension with the Milwaukee Brewers worth around $215 million. This contract is a slam dunk, homerun, touchdown and every other possible success pun you can possibly think of. The 2018 MVP is now the face of Brewers baseball for the foreseeable future and Milwaukee got him at a discount in today’s market.
Let’s look at what got us to this point. The Brewers had to make a move to compete with the 2018 off-season that saw the St. Louis Cardinals add Marcel Ozuna and a Cubs team that had been in control of the central division for two years. Milwaukee gave up a handful of prospects highlighted by Lewis Brinson (#13 overall at the time). The group also included Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto. Brinson has been below average, Yamamoto is nothing special and Isan Diaz is still TBD. The Brewers gave up a core of mediocre prospects to get a guy that could be the best player in baseball behind Mike Trout for the next ten years.
We look back at the three headed monster that was once the Florida Marlins outfield and we all knew that there was a historically great player there, we just didn’t pick the right one. No one was listening when Team USA manager Jim Leyland was telling everyone that on this team of great players Christian Yelich was going to be the future batting champion. We laughed when he was put into the leadoff spot. It was a look into the future, Yelich was quietly proclaimed the next big thing. The world just seemed to ignore it.
Yelich is the player of the analytics era combined with the classic tools. Yelich has a 14.7 offensive WAR over the last two seasons. He has led the league in OPS the last two seasons. He was the fourth best base runner in the league last season. He has the classic power numbers and stolen base numbers. Yelich is 28 years old, this contract will take him into the decline of his career. Milwaukee is a small market team that made this move because they have seen how quickly things can change in Major League Baseball. Prince Fielder left them for free agency, Ryan Braun stopped juicing and went into immediate decline. Players like Yelich are not found every day. In the case of the Brewers they made a smart move and got the diamond in the rough known as Miami. Despite still having three years of control over Yelich making this move allows the Brewers to build for the future around him and their young second baseman Keston Hiura.
Milwaukee may not like this contract in six years. Contracts like Joey Votto, Miggy Cabrera and Albert Pujols are examples of guys cashing in during the prime of their careers. Yelich deserved this money. The Brewers fans deserve to have this guy be the face of their franchise. It is a good move for the organization right now.