Mariners lock up one of sport’s brightest young stars with record deal as they agree contract extension with AL Rookie of the Year contender Julio Rodriguez. The deal, which begins this season, guarantees the young star $210 million over 12 years and contains options for players and clubs that can extend the length of the contract and bring the total value to $470 million. Rodriguez, an Octagon customer, also reportedly received a full no-trade clause.
It is one of the most complex contracts in major league history. According to reports from ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal of the AthleticRodriguez will earn $120 million through 2029. According to Rosenthal, this comes in the form of a $15 million signing bonus to be paid up front, with $105 million to be split between 2023 and 2029. After the seventh year of the contract (2028), the Mariners must decide whether to effectively extend Rodriguez for eight or ten years, the size and value of this long-term “club option” depending on how Rodriguez ends up as an MVP by voting by the first seven seasons of the contract.
At a minimum, Seattle will decide to extend the contract for eight years and an additional $200 million. That figure would jump to $240 million over eight years if Rodriguez earns two or three top ten MVP ballots in his first seven years. He would be valued at $260 million over eight years with four top-ten finishes and $280 million over eight years if he wins an MVP and finishes in the top five once again. Where finishes in the top five of the MVP poll three times. Option value would increase to $350 million over ten years if Rodriguez wins two MVP awards Where finished in the top five in the polls four times. In the event that Rodriguez reaches that higher threshold when the Mariners exercise the option, the contract would be capped at 18 years and $470 million in total value.
If the Mariners don’t exercise their multi-year option after Year 7, Rodriguez will have a five-year, $90 million player option that he can exercise after Year 8 of the contract. (That option value could be as high as $125.5 million depending on his results in Silver Slugger voting and All-Star appearances). This $90 million figure is considered guaranteed money, as is the case with all player options. Between the $120 million he will receive over the next eight seasons and the player’s base option value, Rodriguez’s guarantee reaches the aforementioned $210 million. There is, of course, a scenario where the Mariners don’t take their 8-10 year “club option”, and Rodriguez also declines his $90 million five-year “player option”, which would allow him then to achieve free agency after raising $120 million over eight years, as he heads into his campaign at the age of 30.
Rodriguez, 21, broke camp with the Mariners this season and, after a tough few weeks to start the year, shot to instant stardom and established himself as a favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. . He’s currently hitting .269/.328/.471 with 20 homers, 19 doubles, three triples and 23 interceptions (on 29 tries) — plus above-average defensive contributions in center field.
Those numbers are at least slightly skewed by a poor start to the year in which Rodriguez beat .136 / .208 / .159 with a 45% strikeout rate. Since April 22, Rodriguez has crushed a .285/.342/.508 clip. That production is around 46% above league average after weighting for park and league, per wRC+ metric, putting Rodriguez in a three-way tie with Alex Bregman and the also recently extended austin riley for 12th best among Major League skilled hitters. Rodriguez also ranks 13th in the Majors in both average exit speed (92 mph) and hard hit rate (49.6%) during this span, and his barrel rate of 14.9% in this streak is the ninth highest rating in MLB.
Add to that the fact that he did all of this at 21 and after skipping the Triple-A level entirely, and Rodriguez’s rookie season becomes all the more remarkable. Given this youth and the lack of seasoning of the upper minors, it’s quite possible that while Rodriguez already ranks among the best hitters in the game, we haven’t even seen the best he has to offer yet.
Defensively, Rodriguez has more than held up in center field this season, earning positive ratings in Defensive Runs Saved (2), Ultimate Zone Rating (0.3), and Outs Above Average (5). Numerous scouting reports written prior to his MLB debut suggested that as Rodriguez ages and continues to fill out he may be destined for an outside corner spot, but given his raw 70 or even 80 power and the solid work he has done at the centre. season, he will have both the bat and probably the defensive chops to be an above-average contributor in right or left field.
It’s easy to see why the Mariners jumped at the chance to keep Rodriguez long-term, and they’re done with a massive, complex contract. The $210 million guarantee will give Rodriguez the record for the biggest contract ever signed by a player with less than a year of Major League service. That accolade currently belongs to the Rays shortstop Take a walk Francowhich signed an 11-year, $182 million extension last November.
Rodriguez will knock this mark down with ease, although it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Franco was not promoted until mid-season and signed his contract in the winter, when the Rays still had six full seasons of club control over him. Because Rodriguez made the opening day roster, he will get a full year of service in 2022 and would have “only” had five more years in control of the club. In this regard, Rodriguez could technically be considered a player plus one (between one and two years of service time), although even looking at the contract through this lens, it is still a record deal; Ke’Bryan Hayes‘ A $70 million extension to Pittsburgh was the previous record for a player with between one and two years of service.
Whichever slice of service is thought to be more appropriate for Rodriguez, this new 14-year contract is now the biggest contract ever promised to a player with less than two years of service in the Major League. In that regard, Rodriguez and the Major League Baseball Players Association are surely thrilled to see the precedent for young superstar extensions go even further.
That said, it’s still possible the contract could be quite favorable for the Mariners. Rodriguez likely would have earned near league minimum wage over the next two seasons (plus all payments from the newly collectively negotiated bonus pool for pre-offer players). A player with his advantage and early dominance would probably have done very well in officiating, and while we may never know exactly how much he could have gained through this process, arbitration is usually based on precedent. In search of recent comparables, Mookie Bets earned $57.5 million for his three officiating seasons. If we put Rodriguez in that broad neighborhood, his last five years in control of the club could have netted him somewhere in the $60 million range – maybe a few million more had he won an MVP award and/or pushed the previous Betts one step further.
Rodriguez will average $15 million over the next eight seasons, with at least two free agent seasons bought out. It obviously has nothing to do with what Rodriguez might have made on the open market had he gone year-over-year and hit the free-agent market before his 27-year-old season, and the Mariners will have the opportunity to keep Rodriguez. to hit free agency at any point in its prime. This risk-reward trade-off is the nature of early contract extensions, of course. There is obviously a significant risk of injury or reduced performance for Rodriguez, which is built into the relative discount rate for these free market seasons.
From a team pay perspective, there’s plenty of room for Seattle to make a commitment of this nature. A significant portion of the team’s recent rebuild has been devoted to eliminating long-term book clutter – for example, the Robinson Cano trade — and the team’s long-term commitments are now rather minimal. left handed Robbie Ray is signed until the 2026 season, as is the shortstop JP Crawford, but they’ll combine for just $37 million at that point. This would have only been Rodriguez’s fifth season in the big leagues, so his contract wages likely won’t have peaked yet.
In the shorter term, books are also still accommodating. The Mariners, who will see veterans Mitch Haniger and Adam Frazier reach free agency at the end of the season, had just over $63 million in guaranteed money on the 2023 payroll prior to this contract. This number does not include an $8 million right-hander option. Chris Flexonnor does it include a handful of arbitrage raises: Luis Castillo (earning $7.35 million this season), Diego Castillo ($2.315 million), Paul Sewald ($1.735M), France (pre-arbitration) and Erik Swanson (pre-arb).
It’s a momentous day in Mariners history, one that firmly confirms the organization’s “win now” mentality as it closes in on a playoff berth that would break a two-decade drought in playoffs – currently the longest of major North American professional sports. There’s a risk for both parties, but the contract continues the growing trend of extending young stars at nine-figure rates that secure a player’s entire premium. The contract also locks in Rodriguez as the new face of Mariners baseball for the next decade and more, ensuring them a charismatic, marketable star around which to both build the roster and sell the product to fans.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez first reported that the two parties were approaching an extension worth more than $200 million guaranteed and up to $450 million in total value. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the duration of the contract and the exact guarantee. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the agreement was in place. Passan and provided financial details. Rosenthal also reported that the deal contained a full no-trade clause.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.