MLB

Christian Yelich is not shying away from his superstar responsibilities

By Sports Desk April 07, 2022

Christian Yelich understands the pressure that comes with being paid as a franchise player heading into the first season of his seven-year, $188million contract extension with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Yelich, 30, has now spent four years with the Brewers after arriving from the Miami Marlins and was a revelation with his new club.

In his first year in Milwaukee, Yelich catapulted himself into the conversation of the game's elite players, winning NL MVP in 2018 and finishing second in the award in 2019, leading the National League in batting average in both seasons.

His incredible performance was rewarded with a juicy new contract – which officially kicks in this season – but since signing, he has regressed significantly.

The 2020 and 2021 season were the two worst of Yelich's career, but he now says he knew the entire contract would not be all "smooth sailing".

"I understand what comes with [the big contract]," he told The Athletic. "I understand that if you don't play well, people are going to be p***ed. Like, I get it. 

"It's part of sports. It's part of what we do, especially when you sign a deal like that. There's no getting around that, and I'm very aware of that.

"I know that I am paid at a level where you need to produce and things are expected of you, and that's because of past performances in the game. That's how it works... so there's no shying away from it. 

"I knew that contract is over a long time, so I didn't really assume that it was going to be smooth sailing all the time."

Yelich admitted the game felt "pretty easy at times" during his peak years but stressed his career is evidence plenty can change from year to year.

"That's the thing – every year is its own year," he said. "Just because you did well or did poorly the year before, it doesn't mean anything going into the next year or the year after that. Every year is its own thing – nothing carries over. 

"There's different factors every year that go into whatever's going on for players and teams.

"The game is constantly adjusting and things constantly are changing. You have to do that as well or the game is going to kick your a**."

The Brewers kick off their season on the road against the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day.

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