Sailors sign star rookie Julio Rodríguez to long-term contract extension

Julio Rodriguez
USATSI

The Seattle Mariners and All-Star rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez have signed a long-term extension that could be one of the biggest deals in Major League Baseball history. The Mariners announced the deal during Friday night’s game:

The initial warranty is 12 years and $210 million, reports Ken Rosenthal. With the deal starting next season, this sees Rodríguez through the 2034 season, as mentioned in the Mariners announcement. From there, Rosenthal nets a five-year, $90 million player option, meaning Rodríguez can turn it into a 17-year, $300 million deal.

A guarantee of at least $210 million makes Rodríguez’s extension the biggest contract ever signed for a player with less than two years of major league service. The current biggest overall contract in MLB history is the $426.5 million extension Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019.

Rodríguez, 21, has quickly realized the promise that made him one of the best prospects in all of baseball heading into 2022. In 108 games for Seattle this season, Rodríguez has created a .269/ slant line. 328/.471 with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases. This combination of power and speed recently saw Rodríguez become the 12th rookie to complete a 20-20 season. Moreover, he is so far ranked as a defensive asset at the vital central field position. Rodríguez introduces himself as one of the favorites for American League Rookie of the Year honors.

Before his extension was finalized, Rodríguez was reportedly 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 progressed rapidly. Before being promoted to Seattle, Rodríguez had a .955 OPS over three season games despite being much younger than his peer group at every rung.

Rodríguez this season has been a vital part of a Mariners squad that is currently on course for 88 wins and is the last wildcard in the AL. The Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, which is the longest playoff drought in major North American professional sports.

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