The Milwaukee Brewers traded four good prospects to the Florida Marlins for young, dynamic outfielder Christian Yelich heading into the 2018 season.
The Milwaukee Brewers prospects included in this trade are MLB Top 100 guys OF Lewis Brinson, 2B/SS Isan Diaz, OF Monte Harrison, and the organization’s 2016 Minor League pitcher of the year RHP Jordan Yamamoto.
One can analyze this trade from multiple perspectives:
- Value of Christian Yelich
- Value of prospects moving forward
- Does this trade for Yelich make sense for the Brewers heading into 2018?
Final word on this trade is hard to make before the Brewers finish their off-season moves. The club still needs a frontline starting pitcher and one more key bullpen piece to be a lead World Series contender But this trade sets them up very well going forward despite the high price.
Value Of New Brewers Outfielder Christian Yelich
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired a potential future MVP by trading for Christian Yelich. Yelich played in a pitcher’s friendly park for his first two full seasons, and he still put up impressive stats. In a hitter’s park, such as Miller Park, those numbers will grow.
Furthermore, Yelich enters his age 26 season in 2018. Logic says Yelich will continue to get better as he enters his prime years as a baseball player. The Milwaukee Brewers traded for Yelich and his club-friendly contract. Milwaukee owes him:
- 2018: $7M
- 2019: $9.8M
- 2020: $12.5M
- 2021: $14M
- 2022 Team Option: $15M ($1.2M buyout)
The sum of his money over these years averages to about $11M over 5 years. That is a very good price for a probable perennial all-star such as Christian Yelich. Moreover, the Milwaukee Brewers hold the rights to Yelich long enough to make a run in 2018 and into the future.
Yelich played a solid if not splashy center field for the Marlins most of the 2017 season. He can also play left field. He does not nave a strong arm, but he is a steady hand that rarely makes an error. By signing dynamic defensive center fielder Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers can move Yelich to left field and shift Braun to first base or back to right field.
The additions of Yelich and Cain leave the Brewers with six outfielders and only three starting positions. Christian Yelich will hold up his end of the bargain and play well for the Brewers. Milwaukee General Manager David Stearns’ next moves, and the team’s determination whether the trade was worthwhile.
What Did the Brewers Give Up For Christian Yelich?
The Milwaukee Brewers gave up a a great deal of talent for Christian Yelich, but it is largely untapped talent. MLB prospect expert Jonathon Mayo says Lewis Brinson has “30-30 potential”
However, Brinson has a red flag for being injury prone and did not play well during his short stints with the Brewers in 2017.
Isan Diaz came to the Brewers when they traded SS Jean Segura to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Diaz ranks as the fourth best 2B prospect by MLB Pipeline, just after another Brewers prospect, Keston Hiura. Diaz looks like a power-hitting middle infielder.
Although Diaz projects well, the Brewers have previously mentioned Hiura along with speedster 2B Maurucio Dubon who make trading Diaz less painful.
Similar to Brinson, Monte Harrison has injury history. That being said, baseball scouts noticed Harrison looked great in limited time during the recent Arizona Fall League.
Despite Harrison’s athleticism and great running talent, he still has holes in his swing that he will need to figure out in the minor league. He is certainly not as polished as Brinson, let alone Yelich.
Jordan Yamamoto rings up hitters at a high strikeout rate, but he is not ranked in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list.
How Much Does the Trade For Yelich Help the Brewers Going Forward?
Most MLB insiders agree that the Marlins got a good group of players for Christian Yelich. On the other hand, if Yelich helps the Brewers to division titles and a run at a World Series, Milwaukee will be happy as well. This could be a trade that works well both ways.
Milwaukee traded four prospects to the Kansas City Royals (including a young Lorenzo Cain) for ace RHP Zack Greinke in 2010. Greinke helped the Milwaukee Brewers make a deep postseason run in 2011. All of those prospects who left the Brewers have had their own version of future success. Furthermore, the Royals won AL pennants in 2014-2015 That was a trade that worked out well for both teams.
The value of this trade on each side depends on what the Brewers and Marlins do from here. One would think there are still moves to be made. The Milwaukee Brewers, especially, have been linked to many starting pitchers now that they have more quality outfielders than positions to play them.
Even now, before February 2018, Yelich and Stearns have enough pedigree to make Milwaukee Brewers fans happy heading into the 2018 season and beyond.
This might be a quick rebuild for the Milwaukee Brewers, but that just adds to the brilliance of the current Milwaukee Brewers organization.