Posted on January 25, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Miami Marlins have made another trade involving one of their core players. Thursday night, the Marlins traded outfielder Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange, the Marlins acquire prospects Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison, and Jordan Yamamoto.
For the last several weeks, Yelich being traded has appeared inevitable. The Marlins have already traded away Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna this offseason. With those players gone, Yelich requested to be traded as well. At least 15 teams reportedly approached the Marlins about Yelich. With Yelich being a productive player who’s on a team-friendly contract through the 2021 season, Miami’s asking price was substantial. The Brewers appear to have met that price.
Yelich figures to become Milwaukee’s everyday center fielder, replacing Keon Broxton in that role. Broxton appeared to have a breakout season in 2016, only to take a step backward last year. Despite hitting 20 home runs in 2017, Broxton hit just .220 with an OPS of .719 while striking out 175 times. Rather than seeing if Broxton had a chance to bounce back in 2018 or taking a chance on prospect Brent Phillips, the Brewers were proactive in acquiring Yelich to be their center fielder.
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Milwaukee was one of the biggest surprises in baseball last year. They stayed competitive with the Cubs in the NL Central deep into September and fell just one game short of the Rockies for the second wild-card spot. With a young roster in place, a strong farm system, and now the addition of Yelich, the Brewers no doubt fancy themselves as legitimate contenders in 2018.
With Yelich in center field, the Brewers may have one of the best outfields in baseball. The 26-year old will be flanked by Ryan Braun in left field and Domingo Santana in right field. Braun saw a slight dip in his numbers in 2017. But the 34-year old still managed an OPS of .823 last year. Santana, meanwhile, hit 30 home runs last season, posting an OPS of .875 during a breakout year. With Eric Thames and Travis Shaw also hitting more than 30 home runs last year, Milwaukee’s lineup has some serious power.
As for the Marlins, this may be their best trade of the offseason in terms of the players they’re getting back. Brinson was Milwaukee’s top prospect and no. 13 overall, according to MLB.com. He has average or better tools across the board and had an outstanding season in triple-A last year, hitting .331 with an OPS of .962. There’s a good chance he’ll be Miami’s opening day center fielder in 2018 and for many years to come.
Diaz was also a top prospect, ranked no. 86 in all of baseball. Many believed he would be Milwaukee’s long-term second baseman and will likely be ready for the majors at some point in 2018. He’s still a little raw but has good upside and above-average power. Harrison is an outfielder with elite athleticism. He’s struggled with injuries but had an outstanding season in A-ball last year and has a high ceiling. Finally, Yamamoto is less heralded but posted a 2.51 ERA in advanced-A last year.
This is definitely a trade that has a good chance to work out for both teams. Yelich has had four impressive seasons in the big leagues and still hasn’t reached his prime. He’ll make the Brewers significantly better in 2018 and beyond. The Marlins, on the other hand, receive four prospects who could all contribute in the majors, including three position players with high ceilings. Fans may not be happy with the fire sale, but they should be happy with what the Marlins got back for Yelich.