The Brewers find themselves in kind of a weird position. They’re still a competitive ball club but at a crossroads. David Stearns, who was such a great president for them, is now with the Mets. Craig Counsell, one of the best managers in baseball, is now with the Cubs. Offensively, they are consistently near the bottom of the league and every statistical category, yet they still have a very solid farm system and play in a division that isn’t exactly on fire right now. A lot of people have been waiting to see how their future is going to shape. We have our answer.
Jackson Chourio, who has only played six games above double a ball, is about to receive an eight-year extension worth around $80 million. The former international signing is currently the top-rated outfield prospect in baseball and second amongst all players behind Jackson Holliday (according to MLB.com).
This is the way of the future in MLB. The Milwaukee Brewers are a prime example of a team struggling to keep up with the big boys. I feel like the Atlanta Braves started this trend when they began extending all their good players so that they could get them in their prime years instead of waiting until they're in their late 20s or early 30s for them to be free agents. But the Braves at least did it when these guys were already developed major league products. Giving an extension to a player who has yet to step foot on a Major League ballfield is a massive risk. Whether people like to admit it or not, there is still a psychological element to this game. There's no such thing as a can't prospect, but if small market teams want to keep pace, this is the way to do it. ￼
While this will be the biggest deal ever handed out to a player yet to appear in the major leagues, this is not the first time that something like this has happened. In early 2020, Luis Robert received a six-year, $50 million deal from the Chicago White Sox before he ever played a Major League game. The Chicago White Sox are a higher fire, but Robert has been one of the bright spots for that team over the last few years. ￼
The ultimate example of a contract like this working (at least so far) is Corbin Carroll, who received an eight-year, $111 million extension after only playing 32 games in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks. Caroll was a revelation last season, winning Rookie of the Year and finishing top five in NL MVP voting as he helped lead the Diamondbacks to a World Series appearance. Time will tell if Chourio will have that kind of success, but it's a risk a team like the Brewers has to take. If he became a star without this deal, it would be all but inevitable that they would lose him in free agency at some point. A small market team has to be willing to roll the dice.