The Milwaukee Brewers have gotten incredible production from outfielder Christian Yelich all season, with a red-hot stretch post-All Star Break. Would signing him to an extension make sense?
I know what you’re thinking. Christian Yelich is already under contract for four more seasons at a bargain rate based on his play. Why worry about a contract extension for a guy already signed for four more years?
Why They Should Give Yelich An Extension
In his first season in Milwaukee, Yelich is contending for the NL MVP award and the NL batting title. He’s hitting .315 with 27 home runs, 81 RBIs, 96 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases.
Christian Yelich is only 26 years old, and is just entering his prime. Next season, he’ll make just $9.75 million. In 2020, Yelich will earn $12.5 million. In 2021, he’ll earn $14 million and he has a club option for $15 million in 2022, which looks to be an obvious pick up for the Brewers right now.
That’s a very team-friendly deal for an MVP caliber player playing for a small market team.
But when his current contract runs out, he’ll be 30 years old, which is still in his prime. He’s scheduled to hit free agency that winter and could make a ton of money on the open market if he keeps up this level of play. It’s clear his style of play works well in Miller Park and he’s basically the heart of this Brewers lineup.
If the Milwaukee Brewers sign him to an extension, they can keep him in Milwaukee even longer and give Yelich the money he deserves over those extra years.
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Would Christian Yelich Sign An Extension?
This is the more important question as the Brewers undoubtedly would like to keep Yelich around longer. But Yelich needs to feel the same. This is not to say that Yelich doesn’t like Milwaukee. I’m sure he loves the city and he loves playing here.
But Yelich already signed an early extension once with the Marlins. While the deal gave him more certainty over potential arbitration raises, it’s prevented Yelich from getting the money he likely will deserve over these next four seasons in Milwaukee.
No one really knows what the free agent market will be like in 2022. There will be a new CBA and prices for players like Yelich could skyrocket, especially as he gets better. After getting vastly underpaid for his original long term deal, it’s more likely than not that Yelich will want to get the money he’s deserved.
Could An Extension Happen Soon?
The Milwaukee Brewers might approach Yelich this offseason about extending his contract and maybe turning that $15 million option in 2022 into something guaranteed at a higher salary. Not to mention tacking on a few extra years to the contract would be on the table.
But it’s difficult to see Yelich agreeing to another extension four years before he’s going to reach free agency where he would likely make a ton of money as a 30 year old. The guaranteed money the Brewers would have to offer would probably be out of Stearns’ comfort zone right now.
A lot of things can change in four years, but Christian Yelich figures to get better and better each and every season in a Brewers uniform as his prime is upon him.
If, in another year or two, Christian Yelich is still producing at a high level and he’s not as far away from free agency anymore and is interested in staying in Milwaukee, the extension talks could pick up. But if he keeps playing at an MVP level, his asking price is only going to go higher. While that should be the reason why the Brewers approach him about an extension, it makes little sense to sign one from Yelich’s perspective.
I think the Milwaukee Brewers have found their next great player in Christian Yelich. They should do whatever it takes to prevent Yelich from reaching free agency in 2022.