The Milwaukee Brewers have signed top outfield prospect Jackson Chourio to a record-breaking contract extension, the team announced Monday. Chourio, 19, will be guaranteed $82 million over eight years with a couple of club options attached that could push the deal's total value to more than $140 million. That extension shatters the record for the largest contract ever signed by a player before making their MLB debut. The record had belonged to Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert, who inked a six-year, $50 million pact in 2020.
Chourio reached Triple-A in 2023, but played just six games at the minors' highest level. This deal clears the way for him to make the big-league roster as soon as he's deemed ready -- be it Opening Day 2024 or sometime later in the summer.
Chourio was recently ranked by CBS Sports as the seventh-best prospect in the minors. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Chourio, the breakout star of the 2022 minor-league season, is a dynamic talent. He's the rare player who can launch opposite-field home runs with regularity, as well as put infielders in a blender on would-be routine grounders. (There was a game in late April against the Angels' Double-A affiliate where he recorded infield singles to the shortstop and the third baseman in consecutive frames.) Some evaluators have expressed hit-tool concerns generated by his aggressive approach. It's a fair consideration, but Chourio has earned the benefit of the doubt by holding his own in the upper minors at such a young age. If everything clicks, he'll provide the Brewers with their fifth 30/30 season. And their sixth, their seventh, their eighth, and so on.
The Brewers are in the midst of a transformative stretch. They lost long-time general manager David Stearns to the New York Mets to begin the offseason and more recently saw manager Craig Counsell bolt to the division-rival Chicago Cubs. Moreover, the Brewers non-tendered Brandon Woodruff, one of the best pitchers in franchise history, after he underwent shoulder surgery. Soon, they could be forced to part with ace Corbin Burnes and Willy Adames, either through trades or their winter 2024 dates with free agency.
Extending Chourio, then, provides the Brewers with a bridge to the future in more ways than one -- giving the fan base a player to rally around, and the organization a long-term piece of certainty.