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Sources: Brewers, teen Chourio reach $82M deal

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Published in Baseball
Sunday, 03 December 2023 22:19

Nineteen-year-old center fielder Jackson Chourio and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to an eight-year, $82 million contract with two club options and escalators that can take the total value of the deal to $142.5 million, sources told ESPN.

The deal guarantees Chourio more money than any player before his major league debut.

Chourio, a Venezuela native who signed with the Brewers in 2021 as a 16-year-old, spent most of 2023 at the Double-A level, where he hit .280/.336/.467 with 22 home runs and ascended to the No. 3 prospect in baseball in ESPN's rankings.

Pre-debut long-term deals are rare, and all five of the previous players to sign one -- Eloy Jimenez with the Chicago White Sox, Scott Kingery with the Philadelphia Phillies, Luis Robert with the White Sox, Jon Singleton with the Houston Astros and Evan White with the Seattle Mariners -- were either 22 or 23 years old. If both options are exercised, Chourio would hit free agency at 29.

The deal significantly increases the likelihood of Chourio breaking camp with the Brewers. A small-market team whose payroll last finished in the upper half of Major League Baseball in 2012, Milwaukee would have been incentivized to keep Chourio at Triple-A -- where he played his final six games this season -- to delay his eventual free agency by a year.

Even if he began the season in the minor leagues, Chourio could have won a full year of service finishing first or second in Rookie of the Year voting.

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