On Thursday, the Miami Marlins traded Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers for four minor league leaguers: outfielder Lewis Brinson, one of the top prospects in the game, plus middle infielder Isan Diaz, outfielder Monte Harrison and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto.
But what’s most encouraging is how Brinson has immediately embraced this new chapter in his career. He happens to be a South Florida native and Coral Springs High School alum.
“I’m super excited to get the opportunity to play for the hometown team,” he said in an introductory teleconference Friday.
For Brinson, this is a childhood dream becoming reality, the scenario he even recalls writing about for a school assignment. The 23-year-old is a strong candidate to crack the Marlins’ Opening Day lineup.
But there will be high expectations for him also. Out of all the players Miami acquired this winter, Brinson appears as the biggest catch, and therefore under the most pressure to fill the voids in Don Mattingly’s lineup.
The Marlins have suffered through eight consecutive losing seasons and last appeared in the postseason in 2003, when they won the World Series. But Brinson is determined to help return winning baseball to South Beach.
And despite the changes new CEO Derek Jeter has made-trading Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon to cut payroll, Brinson is preaching optimism.
“I think the fans have a lot to be excited for,” he said. “Obviously they’re a little hurt. But I think they’re going to be a little bit surprised to see what we have to offer, with all the young guys. I’m excited, and Marlins fans should be, as well.”
While the Marlins bring some light into the clubhouse, they traded away the disgruntled Yelich. He is the fourth star to be sent packing in the opening months of the Marlins’ new era under Jeter and chairman Bruce Sherman. After watching the team trade their better players, Yelich felt their relationship was irretrievably broken and a fresh start would be best for both sides.
“It’s been crazy. I’m glad it’s over with,” Yelich told Milwaukee reporters of his trade saga. “Honestly, it was exhausting. I’m glad it’s over and excited for the new opportunity.”