Christian Yelich, Brewers close to long-term extension worth more than $200M, report says

The Milwaukee Brewers, despite being in one of the smallest markets in the game, are ready to pay big to keep superstar outfielder Christian Yelich. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Brewers and Yelich are close to a contract extension worth more than $200 million. The deal is expected to run nine years or more, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports

The Brewers have not yet confirmed the news but an official announcement is expected later this week. Here are more details from Rosenthal:

The Brewers are close to agreement with Yelich on a new contract worth more than $200 million, major-league sources told The Athletic on Tuesday. The deal, likely to be for seven years, is expected to be announced Friday at the team’s spring-training facility in Maryvale, Az. 

Yelich, 28, has been among the game’s best players since arriving in Milwaukee two years ago. He hit .326/.402/.598 with 36 homers en route to winning NL MVP honors in 2018, then followed it up with a .329/.429/.671 batting line and 44 homers in 2019. His 2019 season came to an end on Sept. 10, when he fouled a pitch into his knee and suffered a fractured kneecap.

Clearly, the knee injury is not a long-term concern. Yelich is expected to make his spring debut later this week — he’s shifting back to left field after playing mostly right the last two seasons — and all indications are his knee has healed up nicely. If you’re going to give a player $200 million, it should be someone like Yelich. He impacts the game at the plate, in the field, and on the bases.

For the Brewers, there was no real urgency to get this done. They already had Yelich signed through 2021 and under team control through 2022. That stems from the seven-year, $49.57 million extension Yelich signed with the Marlins back in March 2015.

Here is what remains on Yelich’s current contract:

  • 2020: $12.5 million
  • 2021: $14 million
  • 2022: $15 million club option ($1.25 million buyout)

The Brewers are currently in the middle of the most successful stretch in franchise history since Harvey’s Wallbangers in the early 1980s. Milwaukee won 96 games and advanced to Game 7 of the NLCS two years ago, then last year they qualified for the NL Wild Card Game. It’s only the second time in team history they’ve reached the postseason in back-to-back years.

The Yelich contract is a very strong indication owner Mark Attanasio and his front office want to extend the club’s contention window as long as possible. Locking up Yelich gives the Brewers a bonafide superstar and long-term building block. 

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