According to various accounts, Milwaukee has acquired centerfielder Christian Yelich from the Marlins. The Brewers paid a heavy price, giving up OF Lewis Brinson, IF Isan Diaz, OF Monte Harrison and RHP Jordan Yamamoto. Brinson is probably a top-20-in-MLB prospect and is major league ready now. Diaz and Harrison are also among the top ten prospects in a good system, although Diaz is coming off a rough 2017 season.
This definitely looks like a better return than what the Pirates got for Gerrit Cole, although it’s also higher-risk because three of the players are a ways from the majors. It’s hard to compare Yelich and Cole for value. Yelich is a good but not great hitter who adds a lot of value with his baserunning and from the fact that he plays center, where UZR considers him at best an average defender. That adds up to a 4-WAR player, while Cole has been a 2.5-3.0 WAR player except for one 5.5 WAR season. Yelich also is under control through 2022, three seasons longer than Cole. He just turned 26, so he could still get better and isn’t likely to decline for some time.
Given Brinson’s readiness, I’m not sure how much sense this makes for Milwaukee, but it almost certainly strengthens them for 2018.
UPDATE: And now Milwaukee has also agreed to terms with Lorenzo Cain.