The Milwaukee Brewers shocked the baseball world by extending their top prospect, Jackson Chourio, on an eight-year deal that guarantees him $82 million.
The contract can go up to ten years for $142.5 million if club options are exercised and incentives are reached. This is truly as high-risk, high-reward as it gets.
Chourio is just 19 years old and has played a grand total of six games above AA. His potential is obviously through the roof as he's the number two prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but for a player who hasn't made his debut yet, that's a rather sizeable commitment. Especially from a small-market team like the Brewers.
While this shows their belief in Chourio as a player, it also raises questions about what's going to happen with Corbin Burnes, who is set to hit free agency following the 2024 season. While that's still anyone's best guess at this point, it sure feels like Milwaukee is at least going to try and win in 2024, which is a great sign for Brewers fans.
Brewers could be less inclined to trade Corbin Burnes following the historic Chourio extension
With the Brewers agreeing to this deal with Chourio now, they don't have to worry one bit about service time. They already have him locked in through all of his arbitration years and even a couple of his free agency years. Things could obviously change based on how he performs this spring, but Chourio is, as of now, going to be their Opening Day center fielder.
Milwaukee could've easily started him down in the minors to see how he does and then make a decision as to when they'd call him up or if they want to extend him at all, but instead, GM Matt Arnold opted to be ultra-aggressive, and hand over the largest contract for a player who has yet to make his MLB debut. This says a lot about what they think of Chourio and his future, but it also says a lot about their direction for 2024.
The Brewers believe Chourio can help them win now, and want him to play a big role as their Opening Day center fielder. If they didn't think he was ready to contribute right away, they would not have extended him right now. A Burnes trade is not an impossibility, but it feels like the Brewers wouldn't have extended Chourio right now if they didn't want to try and win one more time. It'd be virtually impossible for them to win without Burnes, so it'd be pretty shocking if the team opted to trade him now after inking that extension.
If Milwaukee is out of it by the deadline, then of course Burnes becomes a prime trade candidate. For now, that feels like the most realistic time we'd see a deal happen, if we see it happen at all.