The Miami Marlins fire sale continues with today’s trade of center fielder Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Marlins will receive four prospects in return.
Intent on substantially cutting payroll, the new Marlins ownership with ex-Yankee Derek Jeter as CEO previously traded away second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners, left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, and most famously, superstar right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. Catcher J.T. Realmuto is also said to be on the trading block.
A career.290 hitter, Yelich slammed 18 home runs and 81 RBI in the 2017 season, finishing up with a.282 batting average. The MLB Trade Rumors website believes that it is a good deal for the Brew Crew.
“Yelich, who only recently turn 26, is guaranteed a manageable $43.25MM over the next four seasons, with a $15MM club option (or $1.25MM buyout) for the 2022 campaign. That’s a bargain rate for a player who has steadily produced at an above-average rate in all areas of the game ever since he cracked the majors in 2013.”
Heading to Miami are outfielders Lewis Brinson (a Fort Lauderdale native) and Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz, and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto, ESPN noted.
“In the wake of the earlier deals, Yelich had said he preferred to play elsewhere this year rather than be part of a Marlins rebuilding effort,” ESPN added about the ongoing salary dump.
Baseball agent Scott Boras has compared the Miami Marlins to a pawnshop, the Baseball Essential website noted around the time of the Stanton trade.
Winners of the 1997 and 2003 World Series, the Miami Marlins have a history of dismantling the player roster because of red ink. In addition to a bad TV deal, lackluster fan support is a significant part of the cash flow challenge for the Marlins, as it is for their American League counterpart, the Tampa Bay Rays, which recently traded its homegrown star and franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins moved to a new stadium, Marlins Park, in 2012, but attendance still lags most other MLB teams.
Ironically perhaps, Florida is a Spring Training destination for thousands of baseball fans, but the support doesn’t carry over into the regular season for the Miami- and Tampa-based home teams. Moreover, it’s difficult to see how fans will flock to the Miami ballpark in the short term given all the offseason trading activity.
That said, two would-be owners who were unable to outbid the Bruce Sherman/Jeter group have said that they would have maintained the current payroll rather than trade away established stars like Stanton and others, including presumably Christian Yelich.