Friday, October 7, 2022

Mariners close to signing star rookie Julio Rodríguez to 14-year contract extension, per reports

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The Seattle Mariners and All-Star rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez are reportedly close to a long-term extension that could be one of the largest contracts in Major League Baseball history. 

According to Jesse Sanchez, the extension would guarantee Rodríguez more than $200 million, and the total value of the deal could wind up in the vicinity of $450 million. Jeff Passan reports that the deal will cover 14 years, and he puts that exact guarantee at $210 million. 

A $210 million guarantee would make Rodríguez’s reported extension the largest contract ever for a player with fewer than two years of major-league service time. The current largest overall contract in MLB history is the $426.5 million extension that Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in March of 2019. 

Rodríguez, 21, has quickly realized the promise that made him one of the top overall prospects in all of baseball coming into 2022. In 108 games for Seattle this season, Rodríguez has authored a slash line of .269/.328/.471 with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases. That combination of power and speed recently allowed Rodríguez to become just the 12th rookie ever to achieve a 20-20 season. As well, he’s thus far graded out as a defensive asset at the vital position of center field. Rodríguez stands as one of the frontrunners for American League Rookie of the Year honors. 

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Prior to any extension being finalized, Rodríguez would be slated for free agency after the 2027 season. Rodríguez originally signed with the Mariners organization in 2017 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Thereupon, he thrived in the Mariners’ system and advanced quickly. Prior to being promoted to Seattle, Rodríguez had a .955 OPS across parts of three seasons despite being much younger than his peer group at every rung. 

Rodríguez this season has been a vital part of a Mariners team that is presently on pace for 88 wins and occupying the final wild-card position in the AL. The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since 2001, which gives the longest playoff drought in major North American professional sports.

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