There’s a solid chance that Miami will move Yelich in the near future as they continue to rebuild, and while their asking price is likely to be very steep, quite a few different clubs have been said to have interest in him in recent weeks. Yelich, who posted a .282/.369/.439 slash line with 18 homers over 695 plate appearances in 2017, is signed through 2021 with a club option for 2022. He’s guaranteed $44.5 million over the remainder of the deal, though he’ll earn a $15 million salary rather than a $1.25 million buyout if his option is picked up in 2022.
This news matches up well with the consistent rumbling this offseason that the Brewers are at least exploring the possibility of upgrading their outfield group. Free agent Lorenzo Cain has repeatedly been linked to the Brewers, who drafted him in 2004, and both Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana have come up in trade rumors in recent months. Milwaukee already had a rather impressive outfield group in 2017 with Broxton, Santana, and Ryan Braun; those three combined for 67 homers and 186 RBIs last season. If everything is kept as is, they should be even deeper in the outfield this season, as highly-regarded prospects Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are on the brink of being ready for full-time major-league duty, and they can always play Eric Thames at a corner spot and plug in Jesus Aguilar, who hit 16 homers in a bench role last year, at first base. But with Braun getting older, Broxton’s ceiling being limited, and Brinson and Phillips still being question marks, perhaps the Brewers feel that they need more certainty in the outfield as they look to compete with the Cubs for the NL Central title in 2018.
If the Brewers are going to trade for Yelich, they’ll have plenty of prospect depth from which to deal. The 23-year-old Brinson was ranked as the No. 13 prospect in baseball on MLB Pipeline’s most recent top 100 list, while outfielder Corey Ray (No. 59), right-handed pitchers Luis Ortiz (No. 70), Brandon Woodruff (No. 81), and Corbin Burnes (No. 97), and infielders Keston Hiura (No. 82) and Isan Diaz (No. 86) also appear on that list. Phillips, 23, was once ranked as one of baseball’s best outfield prospects and posted a .799 OPS with four homers over his first 98 big-league plate appearances in 2017, so he should still have some solid trade value if the Brewers decide to move him.