The Marlins strip down rebuild continues, as Christian Yelich has been traded to the Brewers for multiple players, including outfielder Lewis Brinson. The Brewers officially announced the deal early Thursday evening.
[UPDATE:Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million deal.]
Yelich, 26, hit .282/.369/.439 (117 OPS+) with 36 doubles, 18 homers, 81 RBI, 100 runs and 16 stolen bases last season. He was even better in 2016 when he won a Silver Slugger and got some down-ballot MVP love. He transitioned to center field from left last season and did so adequately. His range would play better on a corner, but he's fine in center and likely gets better with more experience.
More good news for the Brewers is Yelich's contract. He's set to make $43.25 million over the next four seasons and there's a $15 million club option for 2022. It's very team-friendly, given Yelich's talent level and pedigree.
As things stand, Yelich figures to play center field and hit somewhere toward the top of the lineup for the Brewers. They have a lot of platoon situations, but the Opening Day lineup might look something like this:
- Christian Yelich, CF
- Eric Thames, 1B
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Travis Shaw, 3B
- Domingo Santana, RF
- Stephen Vogt, C
- Orlando Arcia, SS
- Jonathan Villar, 2B
- Chase Anderson, SP
The Brewers missed the playoffs last season, but led the NL Central for a while and pushed the Cubs into late September. They appear serious about toppling the two-time defending NL Central champs.
As for the Marlins' return:
- Brinson, 23, got 55 plate appearances last season in the majors. The center fielder hit .331/.400/.562 with 22 doubles, 13 homers and 11 steals in 76 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He actually was with the Brewers circa the Rangers from the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He figures to start the season as the everyday center fielder for the Marlins.
- Harrison, 22, hit .272/.350/.481 with 28 doubles, 21 homers and 27 steals in 122 games between Class A and Class A-Advanced last season. He plays all three outfield positions but has spent most time in center.
- Diaz, 21, is regarded as a top middle infield prospect. He hit .222/.334/.376 with 20 doubles, 13 homers and nine stolen bases in 110 games in Class A-Advanced last season. He's said to have great range at short.
- Yamamoto is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher. He was 9-4 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 111 innings last season in 22 appearances (18 starts) in Class A-Advanced last season.