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What the Christian Yelich trade means for the Cubs

A division rival has acquired a very good player.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

News item: The Marlins are continuing to dismantle their team of pretty much every good major-league player. Next up: Christian Yelich.

The first thing this means is that anyone who thought the Cubs could make a play for Yelich will now be disappointed. He’s under contract at a very team-friendly $43.25 million for the next four seasons, with a $15 million team option for 2022 ($1.25 million buyout). The Brewers will no doubt get the benefit of Yelich’s best seasons.

They did give up some talented players in return; Lewis Brinson will almost certainly step right in and take over Yelich’s spot in center field in Miami. I confess I don’t know that much about the other players in that deal, but the Marlins have now traded three of their starting players from 2017 and a fourth, J.T. Realmuto, has expressed an interest in being traded. It would not surprise me if Starlin Castro is also dealt before Opening Day.

Obviously, this makes the Brewers a better team. Yelich hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases for the Marlins last year, which was worth 3.9 bWAR. That was actually a bit worse than his 5.3 bWAR 2016 season.

And here are some numbers that suggest that Yelich could be a better hitter in Miller Park than he was in Marlins Park:

So the Brewers are a better team today than they were yesterday. If the Cubs can make the hot stove hotter by signing Yu Darvish soon, that will make this a really interesting I-94 rivalry year.