Mariners officially ink star rookie OF Julio Rodríguez to megadeal
Julio Rodríguez is going to be with the Seattle Mariners for a long time, and will be paid very handsomely as well.
As was first reported by MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez and ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the superstar rookie center fielder is finalizing a contract extension with the Mariners that will make him one of the highest-paid players in baseball.
The Mariners made the deal official Friday night, saying that the new contract is for 12 guaranteed years keeping him with the team through 2034 with options that could keep the rookie in Seattle through 2039.
According to the team, the deal is a seven-year extension from 2023-29 and the club has options that could extend it as far as 2039. Rodríguez, meanwhile, has a five-year player option that provides him guarantees through the 2034 season.
“Julio is among the most exciting players in the game and has only scratched the surface of what’s to come,” Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said. “We feel the uniqueness of this deal befits the person. His infectious personality and ability on the field are only surpassed by his character away from it. We are thrilled that generations of Mariners fans will have the privilege of watching him play in T-Mobile Park for many years to come.”
“This is a great day for my family and me,” Rodríguez said. “I have always wanted to spend my whole career here, in Seattle, with this team and with these fans. I want to win here, in Seattle. That was what I told my agents, and what I told Jerry. I am so happy to be here.”
The overall financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Mariners when they made it official, but reported terms of the contract were reported throughout the day on Friday.
Per Passan, the deal has $210 million guaranteed. If the deal maxes out, Rodríguez would earn $470 million, which would currently be the largest deal in MLB history.
The base of the deal, Passan says, is for $120 million through 2029. After the 2028 season, the Mariners must decide whether to pick up a club option, and the size and length of that option are dependent on Rodríguez’s performance in MVP voting.
Per Passan, “The option is for eight or 10 years on top of the original deal. Depending on how Rodriguez fares in MVP voting — wins and finishes — it can range anywhere from $200-$350 million. If the Mariners pick up the option, Rodriguez’s guarantee in the deal is at least $320 million.”
If the Mariners don’t pick up that option after the seventh year of the deal, Rodríguez has a player option for five years and $90 million, which would make the deal at least a $210 million deal, Passan says. If he turns that down, Rodríguez could hit free agency right before he turns 30 in 2030, Passan reports.
But Passan thinks Rodríguez will be with the Mariners through at least 2037.
“The likeliest outcome? Julio Rodriguez is a Seattle Mariner through 2037 and makes at least $320 million. Probably much more. And if he turns into the monster that he shown he is in his rookie season, it could be the most financially lucrative deal in American sports history,” he posted on Twitter.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on how MVP voting impacts the amount of money Rodríguez can earn via club options. He also reported that the contract comes with a $15 million signing bonus.
Club option minimum 8/200 if J-Rod receives no MVP votes first 8 years. Here’s how it escalates:
Top 10 MVP 2/3 times, 8/240.
Top 10 MVP 4 times, 8/260.
MVP win and top 5 one other time or top 5 three times with no win, 8/280.
Two MVPs or four top 5s without winning, 10/350.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 26, 2022
Additionally, if Rodríguez’s club option isn’t picked up, his player option for five years will be at least $90 million and can increase to $125.5 million.
Also on Julio: If Mariners decline their club option, his 5 yr/90M player option can increase to 5/125.5 based on All-Star appearances and Silver Slugger awards.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 26, 2022
Rodríguez was one of the Mariners’ top prospects for years since signing as an international free agent for $1.75 million in 2017 at 16 years old and quickly became one of the best prospects in baseball.
Rodríguez broke camp with Seattle as the team’s everyday center fielder and has thrived. In 108 games, the rookie has slashed .269/.328/.471 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs and 23 stolen bases while worth 4.3 WAR. He became one of nine players 21 and younger to reach the 20 homer-20 stolen bases mark and is the youngest player in American League history to do so.
The 21 year old was the lone rookie in MLB to make the All-Star Game this season, and before that, Rodríguez took part in the Home Run Derby, where he put on a show, smacking 81 total home runs including 32 in the first round. He also knocked off Pete Alonso, the two-time defending Derby champ, in the second round before falling to Juan Soto in the final round. He is the current frontrunner for American League Rookie of the Year.
Prior to Rodríguez’s deal, there were 16 players in baseball currently with a $200 million-plus deal. Additionally, nine players have deals worth over $300 million and just one player (Mike Trout) has a deal for more than $400 million.