NL MVP Christian Yelich says trade from Marlins to Brewers was the fresh start he needed

Christian Yelich became a first-time National League MVP this week by receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes for his All-Star 2018 campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The veteran outfielder bested Chicago Cubs star Javier Baez with a .326/.402/.598 line with 36 home runs, 110 RBI and 118 runs for a Brewers team that won 96 games and advanced to the NLCS. He was maybe baseball's hottest hitter down the stretch. And his 50 RBI in his final 40 games helped the Brewers outrun Baez's Cubs for the NL Central title.

None of it, including the subsequent MVP honor, would have been possible, however, if Yelich wasn't first discarded by another team.

A Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner with the Miami Marlins from 2013-2017, the 26-year-old standout was dealt to Milwaukee on Jan. 25 despite previously earning a seven-year contract extension as one of the Marlins' most consistent bats. But he told Bill Reiter on CBS Sports HQ that it was the trade to Milwaukee that set his MVP season into motion.

"I think it was just nice to have a fresh start," he said. "I loved every second of it. It ended up working out really well."

That said, Yelich also admitted he didn't foresee having quite as good of a season as he did.

"You never expect this to happen as a player," he said. "You never expect to win an MVP. It's definitely a huge honor."

Yelich continued by noting the players, coaches and influences who aided his rise are "too many to name," with Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield among the unusual but inspiring friends on his corner.

"We're working out in the same gym together," he said, "and stay in touch throughout the season. He was actually at the house yesterday ... you always like to see your friends do well."

As for his future? Yelich made history by becoming just the second NL player to win MVP in his first year with a new team, but he's already committed to more than just winning individual awards in Milwaukee. The Hank Aaron Award winner said he's all in on the Brewers moving forward and refused to limit his team's ceiling entering 2019. And his ultimate goal is as lofty as they come.

"Hopefully get to the next World Series," he said, "and win it."

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