Here are the ten biggest contracts in Brewers franchise history.
#4: SP Matt Garza – Four years, $50MM
Going into the 2014 season, the Brewers attempted to make a big splash in free agency by signing former ALCS MVP Matt Garza to a four-year, $50MM contract. Unfortunately, Milwaukee fans want to forget his time with the Brewers as he was largely a bust, posting a 4.65 ERA in 96 games. With a 4.94 ERA in 114.2 innings, 2017 would end up being the final season of his career.
#3: OF Lorenzo Cain – Five years, $80MM
After leaving and winning a World Series with Kansas City, former 2004, 17th-round Brewers pick Lorenzo Cain decided to sign as a free agent with the Brewers going into the 2018 season. It was one of two big moves that now former Brewers GM David Stearns made to finally give the Brewers their first postseason berth in seven years.
Cain had a stellar first couple of seasons back with the Brewers as he earned an All-Star spot along with finishing seventh in MVP voting in his first year with the team. Then in 2019, he earned his much-deserved first Gold Glove. Cain opted out of the 2020 season after five games, dealt with injury issues in 2021, and then was designated for assignment last June.
#2: OF Ryan Braun – Five years, $105MM
Braun doubled down on his time with the Crew as he signed another extension in 2011, this time five more years worth $105MM. He repaid the Brewers with his MVP season and a near MVP the year after that.
Things would get tricky after that though between a PED-related suspension and a good number of games missed due to injury. Braun went on to play into the 2020 season earning one more All-Star appearance in 2015 and generally stayed productive for the Crew as long as he stayed healthy.
#1: OF Christian Yelich – Nine Years, $215MM
The other part of the two big moves made in the winter of 2018, Christian Yelich came on and made quite the name for himself as he made the All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger award, and was named the NL MVP all in his first season. If it wasn’t for him breaking his kneecap toward the end of 2019 he would’ve had the same result, but he instead finished second in MVP voting.
Those seasons earned Yelich a nine-year, $215MM contract, crushing the former biggest contract record for the franchise. Though the short-term production probably hasn’t been what fans had in mind for a contract like that, Yelich has plenty of years remaining to make up for it.
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Some big contracts work out and some don’t, as you can see from the Brewers’ own list. Who knows, maybe we get to see if another big contract works out after this offseason.