Christian Yelich‘s relationship with the Miami Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” and it would be in the best interests of both the outfielder and the organization if the Marlins trade him before the start of spring training, his agent told ESPN on Tuesday.
Yelich, 26, is the Marlins’ most prominent player now that the team has traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in the quest to cut payroll under the new Derek Jeter-Bruce Sherman ownership group.
“They have a plan,” agent Joe Longo said. “I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
“The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
“He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.”
Yelich, catcher J.T. Realmuto and infielder Starlin Castro — who was acquired from the New York Yankees as part of the Stanton trade in December — all have expressed displeasure with the Marlins’ recent roster teardown and given either public or private indications that they would like to be traded.
After reports surfaced of dissatisfaction in December, general manager Michael Hill said the team would proceed with making moves based on the best interests of the franchise rather than accommodating players unhappy with the organizational direction.
“Should we feel like we need to make a trade involving any of our under-contract, controllable players, we will be the ones who initiate that conversation and always do what’s best for the organization,” Hill said at the time.
Several industry sources said Hill has been fielding trade offers on Yelich from throughout the game in recent weeks. The Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies are among the clubs that have inquired about Yelich at various points this offseason.
Yelich is a popular trade commodity because of his track record and contract status. He has a .290/.369/.432 career slash line, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award on his résumé through 4½ big league seasons. He also has four years left on a multiyear contract that will pay him a guaranteed $44.5 million through 2021.
Yelich signed his seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March 2015 — a mere four months after Stanton agreed on a record-setting $325 million contract with Miami.
“It was a completely different climate at the time,” Longo said. “They were built to win immediately. And that’s something Christian wanted to be a part of. The climate there when he signed was to win — with a long-term vision. It’s completely changed now, and I don’t see him buying into the new business plan.
“Each of the players [traded] was a good friend of his off the field. He understands this is a business. But with the depth of the talent that was traded off — he was very shocked and saddened to see these people leave. They gutted the team on the position player side.”
Longo said Yelich has been invited to the team’s FanFest on Feb. 10 but has yet to decide whether he will attend. He said Yelich might be ready to speak publicly “soon” and share his feelings on the events of this winter.