Miami Marlins

Marlins outfield overhaul complete with trade of Christian Yelich

The Marlins completed an overhaul of their outfield on Thursday when they traded Christian Yelich (center) to the Milwaukee Brewers for four prospects.
The Marlins completed an overhaul of their outfield on Thursday when they traded Christian Yelich (center) to the Milwaukee Brewers for four prospects. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Christian Yelich wanted out of Miami. On Thursday, he got his wish.

The rebuilding Marlins traded Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers for a package of four prospects, including outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is rated as the No. 18 overall prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.

Yelich became the third outfielder traded by the Marlins this winter.

After the Marlins dealt Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna in separate trades last month, Yelich asked to be traded, as well.

But Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Yelich’s demands weren’t a factor in the team’s decision to trade him to the Brewers.

“It didn’t play into it at all,” Hill said.

In addition to Brinson, the Marlins also acquired outfielder Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto in the deal.

“I think in this transaction, we added three impactful position players and added a middle-of-the-rotation starter in Yamamoto,” Hill said.

Hill said Brinson was immediately placed on the 40-man roster and could contend for a starting spot in the outfield while the other three will likely start the season at Double A Jacksonville.

“We felt like we added impactful, championship-caliber players, players that will be part of future Marlins championships as they reach the big leagues,” Hill said.

Brinson is a former first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers out of Coral Springs High School. In six minor-league seasons, Brinson hit .287 with 89 home runs and 96 stolen bases. He made his major league debut in June with Milwaukee and hit .106 with a pair of homers in 47 at-bats.

Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline ranked Brinson as the Brewers’ top prospect.

Harrison is a former second-round pick who has hit .243 in four minor league seasons. Diaz, who plays shortstop and second base, is another former second-round pick who has hit .261 in four minor league seasons. Yamamoto went 9-4 with a 2.51 ERA at High A Carolina last season in the Brewers farm system.

“Milwaukee’s a club that expressed interest in Christian early on in the offseason,” Hill said.

After receiving some criticism for the prospect returns the Marlins received in their other trades, the Stanton deal in particular, the consensus among scouts is that they made out much better in the Yelich trade.

Yelich, unlike Stanton, had a team-friendly contract that made him more attractive to clubs with the caliber of high-end prospects needed to pull off a deal. Yelich still has five years remaining on his contract.

“Now that’s a real baseball trade,” said one minor league scout. “They got possibly three major leaguers out of that deal. Brinson has a chance to be an All-Star. He’s similar to Ozuna, but faster and with a better body. Monte Harrison, if he hits, is probably one of the best athletes in baseball, with Eric Davis-type athleticism. But it’s taken him longer to reach his potential.”

Yelich told Milwaukee reporters he was pleased the uncertainty was behind him.

"There was a lot of stuff this off-season that was out of the norm. I had never really gone through something like this before," Yelich told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I'm just excited for the fresh start and the new opportunity, and to be a part of the Brewers. I'm looking forward to getting things underway and going out and compete with those guys. They're a good young club and I'm really excited to be a part of it and help them make that push.

"It's been crazy. I'm definitely glad it's over with. You don't have to answer questions about where you're going. Honestly, it was getting exhausting, having to deal with this since the end of the season. For me, it's a relief it's over and I can get back to focusing on playing baseball and doing what I love to do."

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