Back on Tuesday, a Ken Rosenthal report indicated that the Brewers were in contract talks with top prospect Jackson Chourio. While Rosenthal didn't specify that a deal was close, ever since that report things have rapidly moved toward completion.
On Sunday, the contract was agreed to and finalized and the Brewers have officially extended the next face of their franchise before he even played in his first game in Milwaukee.
Chourio's contract is for 8 guaranteed years for $82MM. There are also two club option years tacked on the back end of it that can make it a 10 year contract, keeping Chourio in Milwaukee through his 20s. Yes, still just 19 years of age, a decade-long contract won't even keep him until he turns 30.
The total value, if he hits all the escalators and incentives can go up to $142.5MM.
The Milwaukee Brewers make the smart investment in their long-term success by locking up Jackson Chourio so early in his career.
Heading into 2024, the Brewers were going to be faced with a decision on when to promote Jackson Chourio. With just six games of Triple-A experience, it's likely they would've sent him back to Triple-A for the first few weeks of the season to ensure an extra year of team control. Those kinds of service time manipulation games are not good for players or fans, and they can be a bad look for teams.
Instead, the Brewers can avoid that whole scenario and feel comfortable having Chourio on the Opening Day roster because service time is no longer a concern with this contract. The Brewers "buy out" two free agent years and get club options to buy out another two free agent years. Those options are reportedly valued at $25MM apiece, which is even lower than what Christian Yelich is currently making.
While there's risk in any long-term investment in a player, the big risk with Chourio is that he hasn't even made his MLB debut yet. Only a handful of players have signed long-term deals prior to making their MLB debut and not all of them panned out. The Brewers clearly feel Chourio is the real deal. His $82MM guaranteed is the most for a pre-debut player by $32MM, blowing Luis Robert's deal out of the water.
Brewers hitting coordinator Brenton Del Chiaro was recently on the Cold Brew Podcast and he compared Chourio to Mike Trout. Carolina Mudcats manager Victor Estevez said Chourio reminded him of Ronald Acuna. That's the caliber of player the Brewers front office sees and that's why they're making this move to extend Chourio now while they still can.
If Chourio indeed ends up like Mike Trout or Ronald Acuna, it wouldn't have taken long for his price tag to become much higher than the Brewers probably could afford. That's why the Brewers moved so quickly to get a deal done before he even made his debut.
Because the money will end up being backloaded, this isn't going to affect the Brewers payroll much in 2024. Whatever payroll space they had before they'll still have afterwards.