Christian Yelich watches homer, AP photo

Brewers' Christian Yelich watches his three-run home run during the third inning on Opening Day, March 28, 2019. The shot gave Milwaukee a 4-3 lead en route to a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Can the Brewers afford a $400 million player?

The best bargain in baseball is Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, who earns $9.75 million this season after signing a seven-year, $49.57 million deal with the Marlins in 2015. With a $15 million club option in 2022, he'll be wearing a Brewers uniform the next four years.

After shocking the baseball world with his National League MVP season in 2018, Yelich is off to another great start. He began Wednesday tied for the National League lead in home runs with nine and leds the majors with 25 RBIs.

Mike Trout's record-setting $430 million deal last month set the pace, but Yelich could wind up in Mr. Trout's neighborhood if he hits free agency in 2022 and his hometown Dodgers come calling. Or perhaps even — dare we say — the Cubs?

When I recently asked Brewers general manager David Stearns if it was important to extend Yelich now, he replied: "We've got Christian for four years, so at this point (there's no urgency)."

Ryan Braun's five-year, $105 million deal runs through next year with a $15 million mutual option for 2021. So the Brewers will have some economic flexibility after Braun departs, which will be necessary because Yelich's price tag will only go up if he continues to hit like this.

Obviously Stearns would like to keep the face of the franchise around for a decade or so, but he doesn't seem too concerned.

"Look, we'd love to have Christian for as long as possible," he said. "We're really fortunate we have Christian for at least four more years, and we'll go from there."


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