Trade Review – Christian Yelich, MIA & MIL

Christian Yelich with the Milwaukee Brewers

Having been over a year removed from the Christian Yelich blockbuster trade, now is as good a time as any to look back upon the deal and see how things have been working out for both sides.

The Deal: January 25th, 2018

Brewers Receive: Christian Yelich

Marlins Receive: Lewis Brinson (OF), Isan Diaz (2B), Monte Harrison (OF), and Jordan Yamamoto (SP)

General Overview: At the time of the deal, Miami was in the middle of one of the biggest, most impactful rebuilds of the decade. Moving Yelich was more of a “when” as opposed to an “if”. Every talented player wanted out of the crumbling franchise. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, AJ Ramos, and David Phelps are a few names dealt around the same time. The main focus of the organization was to bring in as many top prospects as possible to reboot their farm system with young talent. On the Brewers’ end of things, the playoffs were well within reach. The acquisitions of both Yelich and Lorenzo Cain greatly improved Milwaukee’s roster. Though Brinson, Diaz, and Harrison were ranked among the top 100 prospects by many experts, gaining Yelich seemed to be worth it for Milwaukee.

Brewers Overview: So far is seems as if the clear winner of the deal is Milwaukee. Yelich has performed at a legitimate MVP level since being dealt to the Brewers, while the prospects sent to Miami have not done anything that would make the Brewers regret the deal. Being on such a team friendly contract doesn’t hurt Yelich’s value either, making it seem like an even bigger steal for the Brewers. Hitting .326 with 36 HRs in his first season with the Brew Crew, Yelich is on his way to an even better season in 2019. While giving up 4 prospects has depleted their system of top tier talent, Milwaukee could not be happier with the way Yelich has performed.

Marlins Overview: The Marlins return in the Christian Yelich trade was extremely deep, and included 4 highly rated prospects. Outfield Lewis Brinson was the headliner of the deal, being ranked in the top 20 of almost all prospect rankings. Unfortunately for Miami, Brinson also appears to be the biggest bust of the deal. After a short time with Marlins minor league affiliates, Brinson made his Marlins debut in 2018 . Unable to even reach a .200 AVG within his first two seasons in Miami, he has struggled mightily at the plate, with an OBP of an alarming .241. While it is too early to declare the 24 year old a true bust, his performance can not be viewed as encouraging to Marlins fans.

Monte Harrison with Marlins Double-A affiliate, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in 2018

The second piece to the deal was Monte Harrison. Another speedy Brewers outfielder coming to the Marlins, Harrison had a superb 20+/20+ season before being dealt. In his first season in the Marlins organization, Harrison showed off his 5-tool abilities in Double-A Jacksonville, but had issues with a very high strikeout rate. Currently in Triple-A, the hope is that he can reduce his strikeouts while retaining his speed/power combination versus tougher competition. Harrison is currently the highest ceiling player acquired by the Marlins from their rebuild, so everyone in the organization will be sure to give him the assistance and coaching he needs to be as successful as possible.

Second baseman Isan Diaz was the third position player to be dealt during this trade. So far Diaz has not performed well for Miami, but he has also showed some signs that he may become another 5-tool guy for the Marlins. the real trend with these three position players was their 5-tool potential, with low floors and high ceilings. The expectation was that at least one of the three could become an elite “face of the franchise” to replace all the departed veterans, but so far that has not happened.

Jordan Yamamoto, RHP

Lastly, the only pitcher the Marlins acquired in this trade was Jordan Yamamoto. So far the Hawaiian native, Yamamoto, has pitched like an ace for the Marlins Class A-Advanced and Double-A teams. Posting a 1.82 ERA since the trade, he appears to have been the best part of the package. With a great WHIP and respectable strikeout numbers, the Marlins are hoping Yamamoto can surpass his lower expectations and become the best part of the deal.

Player Grades:

Christian Yelich: A+

Lewis Brinson: C-

Monte Harrison: B

Isan Dian: C+

Jordan Yamamoto: A

Winner: Milwaukee Brewers