The tension has been building for five-and-a-half weeks—when the Miami Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton at the start of the MLB Winter Meetings, Christian Yelich could see the club heading in a rebuilding direction...and decided he didn’t want any part of it.
After previously expressing his displeasure through backchannels, Yelich’s agent Joe Longo came right out and said it on Tuesday night (via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick):
“[The Marlins] have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
“The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.”
The 26-year-old outfielder is under contract for at least the next four seasons, plus a team option for 2022. It carries a maximum value of $58.25 million, which he will easily out-perform (barring catastrophic injury).
“It was a completely different climate at the time” they agreed on that extension, Longo said. “They were built to win immediately. And that’s something Christian wanted to be a part of.”
Realistically, it will take the Marlins until the end of that deal to strengthen the organization enough to reactivate win-now mode. Meanwhile, Yelich is stuck in an inexperienced clubhouse, no longer in the company of his closest baseball friends. It sucks, in theory, but he could easily have a change of heart once spring training begins next month.
Yelich is arguably the most popular trade candidate in the majors. Crasnick lists the Braves, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Diamondbacks and Phillies as just some of his suitors. A .290/.369/.432 career hitter (121 wRC+) who can play all three outfield positions and hasn’t even realized his full potential yet could command a prospect haul that expedites Miami’s rebuild.
Unlike Stanton, Yelich isn’t a singular attraction who motivates fans to pay their way into Marlins Park. At least that’s what a majority of the Fish Stripes audience said in this December Twitter poll:
Ran a poll earlier in the offseason where many of you said you bought Marlins tix in 2017 because you wanted to watch Stanton play.— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 13, 2017
Would you buy tix to a 2018 game just to watch Yelich?
Why keep him around? Maybe this is the summer that Yelich makes a leap into the truly elite, MVP-caliber tier. Imagine what that would do to his trade value next offseason!
If you’re an optimist, his growth—with the help of several other overachievers—could propel the Marlins to semi-contender status. From there, they could see a path to relevance that doesn’t require any more subtractions from the major league roster.
On the heels of this latest development, it’s time for another poll. Please take all these factors into consideration before casting your vote.
Should the Marlins trade Christian Yelich before Opening Day 2018?
This poll is closed