Christian Yelich doesn't want to be a Miami Marlin anymore.
His agent, Joe Longo, told ESPN on Tuesday that the outfielder's relationship with the Marlins is "irretrievably broken" and that the team would be best off trying to trade Yelich in advance of spring training next month.
The Marlins, under CEO Derek Jeter and chairman Bruce Sherman, have embarked on a rebuild this offseason, trading Gianarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna as they cut payroll and stock up on prospects. The team's chances of contending in 2018 -- and beyond -- are slim, and Longo made it clear that Yelich does not want to be a part of the rebuild.
Yelich, like any player, wants to win now.
"The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken," Longo told ESPN. "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.
"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."
Gordon expressed a similar sentiment last month, telling the Sun Sentinel "you have to let the dude (Yelich) go win.
"That's what you did for the rest of us, let us have a chance to win," Gordon said. "Let him go win."
Yelich is among the best -- arguably the best -- and highest-paid remaining Marlins. With a Gold Glove Award, Silver Slugger Award and a few down-ballot MVP votes already on his resume, Yelich had a .282/.369/.439 slash line with 18 homers and 81 RBIs last season -- numbers that actually represented a step back from his 2016.
Because of his production, relative young age (26) and team-friendly contract situation, Yelich's trade value is high. The Marlins have reportedly received interest from about a dozen teams, though there have been no indications any trade talks have gotten serious. Atlanta, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams who have reportedly checked in.
Yelich is due $43.25 million over the next four years, plus a $15 million team option (or $1.25 million buyout) for 2022.
But what makes Yelich so desirable to other teams is also why the Marlins are in no hurry to move him. They could just as well hang on to Yelich into the season, then look again at trading him around the trade deadline or next offseason, if they want to move him at all.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto and second baseman Starlin Castro, acquired from the New York Yankees in the Stanton deal, have also expressed unhappiness with the Marlins' direction.
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