MILWAUKEE – A blockbuster deal at the Winter Meetings for the Brewers – but it’s not a flashy free agent signing, but an eight-year, $82 million extension for the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect, Jackson Chourio.
“We’ve had conversations going on for months back and forth. Sometimes they accelerate, sometimes they slow down to a point where you think maybe we won’t get a deal done,” said Brewers GM Matt Arnold in an appearance Monday on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.
“And we just found the right chord with him and it came together and just happened to come together at the Winter Meetings.”
The deal for the 19-year-old center fielder is the largest in baseball history for a player that has not made his major league debut yet. Chourio started the 2023 season at the Brewers’ Double-A team, playing 122 games for the Biloxi Shuckers. He was promoted to Triple-A in September and finished the season with the Nashville Sounds.
Arnold said that he won’t be in the Minor Leagues for long, but that the timing of his debut will ultimately depend on Chourio.
“He’s certainly going to have every opportunity to make our Opening Day team,” Arnold said. “We want to pace this guy to some degree, he’s still a very young player and we don’t need to accelerate him. We know he’s going to be a Brewer and going to be a contributor here for a very long time.”
Arnold has been scouting Chourio since before he was general manager – and since Chourio was in middle school.
“We’ve scouted this kid since he was probably 11 years old,” Arnold said, praising his talents even back then.
Chourio signed with the Brewers as an international free agent in 2021, with a $1.9 million signing bonus. Arnold is excited for his debut and for Brewers fans to really get to know Chourio as a player and as a person.
“This is not just betting on the kid’s talent and athleticism which we know are there,” Arnold said. “This is a kid that has really, really good character, and this means just so much to him and his family and he’s such a blue-collar player – I think he’s going to fit in great with our community and our players in every way.”