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Milwaukee Brewers will be paying Christian Yelich until 2042

A deal like this can require some creative accounting.

San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Deferred money in player contracts isn’t a new concept for the Brewers. They’ve been doing it for over a decade as a way to push the limits on what they can offer on contracts. As a small market team, they have to be a little creative to make some of these deals work. That came into play with Christian Yelich’s deal, and much more significantly than in the past.

According to a report from the Associated Press, $4 million of Yelich’s $26 million salary between 2022 and 2028 will be deferred. The deferred payments will not begin until 2031, when the Brewers will begin paying that to Yelich. The exact payment schedule will be determined based on if the Brewers exercise Yelich’s 2029 option or not. If they do not, $2 million of his buyout is also deferred, and the Brewers will make a yearly payment of $2.5 million for 12 years, between 2031 and 2042. If it is picked up, the deferred payments will be $2.3 million for 12 years. Yelich would get his last payment when he is 50 years old.

The Associated Press report also mentions a few other bonuses in Yelich’s contract that could increase his salary:

  • $100,000 for winning the MVP award
  • $75,000 for finishing second in MVP voting
  • $50,000 for finishing third in MVP voting
  • $50,000 for each of the following honors: All-Star Selection, World Series MVP, Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award, Comeback Player of the Year
  • $25,000 for each of the following honors: League Championship Series MVP, Gold Glove

Should Yelich have a season where he wins all of the possible awards, he can make an additional $400,000 in a season.

The Brewers have been working with deferred payments for a while, and have a few others they will have to payout in the upcoming years. Matt Garza is still on the books for the Brewers, and he is owed $2 million this year and next year. Ryan Braun’s deferred money will start being paid out in 2022, he will be owed $1.8 million a year between 2022 and 2031. Lorenzo Cain also has some deferred money in his deal, with $1 million paid out each year from 2023 to 2027.

Considering all of that, here is what the Brewers will owe in deferred contracts through 2042:

  • 2020 & 2021: $2 million (Matt Garza)
  • 2022: $1.8 million (Ryan Braun)
  • 2023-2027: $2.8 million (Ryan Braun & Lorenzo Cain)
  • 2028-2030: $1.8 million (Ryan Braun)
  • 2031: $4.1-$4.3 million (Ryan Braun & Christian Yelich)
  • 2032-2042: $2.3-$2.5 million (Christian Yelich)

While the deferred money is not much compared to the full team payroll, it’s still money that adds up. It helps the team now, but they money needs to be planned well so it doesn’t limit the team’s payroll in the future. The fact that the Brewers are willing to commit to Christian Yelich for 23 years is a statement on how invested they are in him.

Contract details courtesy of