In January of 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins at the expense of four prospects.
In March of 2020, after two seasons with the team, the Brewers inked Yelich to a nine-year, $188M extension which has the potential to keep the outfielder with the team through the 2029 season.
Yelich’s individual performances year in and year out have been unbelievable, but at what point does the deal become a success?
Yelich in Miami vs. Yelich in Milwaukee
Yelich was a solid MLB player in Miami.
He spent the first five years of his career there, and he was more than serviceable.
Over those five seasons, Yelich batted .290 with an .800 OPS at the plate and added some stellar defense in the outfield.
That’s the player the Brewers thought they were trading for.
Well, Milwaukee has gotten all of that and so much more.
All Yelich did in his first year with the team was bat .326, post a 1.000 OPS, a 7.3 WAR, and win the National League MVP award.
He led the league that year in batting, slugging, OPS, OPS+ and total bases.
His salary that season?
The following year, Yelich was arguably just as good.
He slashed .329/.429/.671 over 130 games, putting up a 1.100 OPS and 179 OPS+, which topped his previous season in all of those categories.
He finished second in MVP voting that year with a 7.0 WAR.
For two consecutive seasons, he led the league in batting, slugging, OPS and OPS+.
Those just happened to be his first two seasons with the Brewers.
He was named an All-Star and a Silver Slugger in both of them.
You better believe he got paid.
After the contract extension, Yelich cooled off marginally.
He batted just .205 in 2020, but compiled an above-league-average OPS+ of 110.
This season, in what we’ve seen of him, he’s been back to business, granted, he’s only appeared in 10 games due to a lingering back issue.
Over those 10 games, he’s hitting for average like he never has before despite his power numbers being down.
Yelich has a .353 batting average and he’s getting on base at a .463 clip.
His only extra-base-hit all season was a double, so he’s slugging just .382, which gives him an OPS of .846.
The top priority right now is getting him back on the field, and according to a recent tweet, it looks like that could be sooner than later.
The Brewers have reinstated Christian Yelich from the 10-day IL and optioned Hoby Milner to Nashville.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 18, 2021
When a player produces like Yelich has for the Brewers, it’s hard to make any sort of argument that suggests he wasn’t worth the money.
However, if Milwaukee really wants to make the deal a smashing success, they’re going to have to win a title at some point before their time with Yelich comes to an end.
The Brewers made a legitimate playoff run during Yelich’s MVP season in 2018, but fell just a game shy of reaching the World Series.
Christian Yelich has been officially reinstated from of the 10-day IL.
The MVP is back. pic.twitter.com/H5j4arH4Ja
— Stephen Watson (@WISN_Watson) May 18, 2021
They were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in the NLCS.
This season, Milwaukee will face some tough decisions at the trade deadline.
With an eye on the future, many expect Josh Hader to be traded, but that would be a huge blow to the team’s playoff hopes.
The Brewers are currently 21-20 and two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.NEXT: Fans React To Historic Jackson Chourio News