Reports emerged on Sunday evening that the Milwaukee Brewers were nearing a trade, but we wound up getting our hopes up for nothing as the trade talk was walked back the next morning. While the team didn’t complete anything over the weekend, there is every indication that David Stearns and company are indeed working towards making some kind of major transaction. According to the latest report, Milwaukee is making a push for a star outfielder who told his current team he wants out:
Source : Brewers have put together a trade offer & have shown strong interest Marlins OF Christian Yelich. Other teams remain in the mix.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) January 23, 2018
Yelich, who just recently turned 26, has to this point spent his entire professional career with the Miami Marlins organization. He was drafted at #23 overall back in 2010 and broke into the league a few seasons later in 2013 as a 21 year old. Since then he’s posted five consecutive seasons of above-average offense, batting .290/.369/.432 with 59 home runs and 72 steals (121 wRC+) across 2,812 plate appearances in the big leagues. He doesn’t strike out as often as most players across the league these days (20.6% career K rate) and takes an above-average amount of walks. He didn’t show much power early in his career but has come into his own in during the last two seasons; he’s hit 39 home runs since the start of 2016. He’s also swiped double-digit bases in four of his five MLB seasons.
Yelich spent significant time in both left field and center; he’s considered serviceable, if not below-average (-12 DRS in 2025.1 innings) in center but has won a Gold Glove in 2014 while manning left field and has graded out extremely well there throughout his career (+32 DRS in 3535.0 innings).
This past season, Yelich hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs and 16 steals while appearing in 156 games for Miami. The young star is controlled for another five seasons thanks to the contract extension he signed back in 2015 (7 years, $49.6 mil + $15 mil team option, $1.2 mil buyout), but Yelich isn’t too keen on finishing out that deal in a Marlins’ uniform. After the new ownership group dealt away Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna in an effort to cut payroll, Yelich made it known that he would welcome a trade to a new team rather than endure another rebuild in Miami.
Miami’s earlier moves were generally panned by the industry, but the belief now is that the team has slashed enough money off the books that they are more focused on getting strong prospect returns should they choose to part with any more of their assets. The Brewers are one of the teams that should have enough in their farm system to put together a competitive offer for a player of Yelich’s value - both on the field and contractually. According to Baseball America the franchise possesses six of the top-100 prospects league wide, and a deal would almost surely start with top prospect Lewis Brinson. Milwaukee has been shopping Domingo Santana throughout the winter, but with Miami looking more long-term with their rebuilding efforts, he doesn’t seem likely to headline a deal for Yelich. Other players on the team like catcher JT Realmuto and second baseman Starlin Castro (both of whom have indicated they wouldn’t mind a trade) could be of interest to the Brewers, as well, if David Stearns is thinking blockbuster.
With less than $70 mil in payroll currently projected for next season, the Brewers have ample room to add not only Yelich’s $7 mil salary for next season, but to also make another impactful addition. The team has reportedly made offers to both Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta and continue to be linked to Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, as well. Here’s hoping the team as another new player - or players - that they’ll be introducing at this weekend’s “On Deck.”
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs
As @CraigMish reported @Marlins and #Brewers have talked regarding Christian Yelich. I’m hearing many teams in mix. Nothing is in advanced stages. Lewis Brinson is a target for Miami.— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) January 23, 2018