Julio Rodriguez Agrees to Massive Long-Term Deal with Seattle Mariners that Could Max Out at $470 Million

Julio Rodriguez has finalized a historic payday…

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, nicknamed “J-Rod,” has finalized a massive long-term extension deal with the Seattle Mariners that guarantees him $210 million and could max out at $470 million, which would be the richest deal in American sports history, sources told ESPN on Friday.

Julio RodriguezThe Mariners announced the deal on Friday before Rodriguez’s at-bat in the sixth inning of Seattle’s 3-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians, and he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 39,870. In a news release announcing the agreement, the team called it a “historic day for Julio and Mariners fans.”

“This is a great day for my family and me,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “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 [president of baseball operations] Jerry [Dipoto]. I am so happy to be here.”

The base deal is for $120 million and lasts through the 2029 season, sources said.

Following the 2028 season, the Mariners can exercise an option for an additional eight or 10 years, depending on where Rodriguez finishes in MVP voting in the preceding seasons.

If the Mariners turn down the option, Rodriguez can exercise a five-year, $90 million player option after the 2029 season or hit free agency just shy of his 30th birthday.

The Mariners’ option is where the potential money can grow into a historically large figure. If Rodriguez maxes out his MVP escalators, Seattle’s option would be for 10 years and $350 million, taking the total value of the deal to $470 million through 2039. The lowest level would be for eight years and $200 million on top of the original $120 million, keeping Rodriguez tied to the Mariners through 2037.

“Julio is among the most exciting players in the game and has only scratched the surface of what’s to come,” Dipoto said in a statement. “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.”

Rodriguez, a powerful and fast center fielder, became one of the most exciting players in baseball when he made the Mariners’ Opening Day roster. His dynamic skills and big personality endeared him to a Seattle community that hasn’t seen the Mariners make a postseason in two decades.

With an MLB All-Star Game selection, an epic Home Run Derby performance and a .267/.326/.467 line with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases, Rodriguez has made perhaps an even bigger impact than anticipated.

“He’s learned a lot over the last 4½, five months about Major League Baseball and things he needed to work on and continue to improve upon,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said Friday. “Really good teammate. I mean, you can go on and on describing where he’s at. But there’s a lot of baseball, really good baseball ahead of him, and I know that’s what excites me and the organization.”

Signed as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in July 2017, Rodriguez was seen by scouts as a prototypical corner outfielder who could hit for power. What he has blossomed into, particularly over the past two years, is a true five-tool player with elite speed and the range for center field without sacrificing any of the power that remains one of his calling cards.

The Mariners broke camp with Rodriguez in center field. He struggled in April, striking out 30 times in 73 at-bats without a home run. Since then, Rodriguez has been one of the top players in baseball and the best on a Mariners team that is 69-57 and 2½ games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the final American League wild-card spot.

His deal, which was first reported by MLB.com, guarantees him the most money for a player with less than one full year in the major leagues. San Diego signed Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million contract after his second season, and the Tampa Bay Rays guaranteed $182 million over 11 seasons to shortstop Wander Franco last winter.

Rodriguez is seventh this season in Baseball-Reference wins above replacement and 16th in FanGraphs’ version. Provided he finishes high in MVP voting in future seasons, his deal is likelier to resemble that of Tatis.

While the 10-year version of Seattle’s option would necessitate consistently high MVP finishes, an eight-year, $280 million version — which would guarantee Rodriguez $400 million — is very attainable.

The potential record-setting nature of the $470 million ceiling could soon be eclipsed. Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is set to reach free agency after the 2023 season. A year later, Padres star Juan Soto, who turned down a guaranteed $440 million from the Washington Nationals before they traded him, could be a free agent right after he turns 26.

Juan Soto Wins This Year’s Home Run Derby

Juan Soto is officially a batting champion…

The 23-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder won $1 million on Monday with a swing that’s worth much more.

Juan SotoShaking off trade rumors that threatened to sully his MLB All-Star week, Soto beat a legend and held off a rookie to win the Home Run Derby and the big-money prize that accompanied it in front of a sold-out Dodger Stadium crowd.

After recently turning down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Washington Nationals, Soto arrived in Los Angeles early Monday morning with his future in doubt ahead of the August 2 trade deadline. He emerged unbothered. When asked before the Derby whether he was going to win it, his answer was characteristically Soto: “Probably.” And on that prediction he came through, vanquishing Albert Pujols in the semifinals and Julio Rodriguez in the finals.

“I’m a lone survivor,” Soto said. “I’ve been going through all this stuff, and I’m still here standing up and with my chin up, all the time. And that shows you I can go through anything.”

Anything, in this case, included a day of answering questions he can’t possibly answer, including whether the Nationals will trade him before the August 2 deadline or where he might wind up. Soto instead worried about his powerful left-handed swing, shooting balls to all fields and finishing the finals with 19 home runs to the 18 of his Dominican Republic countryman Rodríguez.

Juan SotoAt 23 years, 266 days old, Soto became the second-youngest Derby champion — just a day older than 1993 winner Juan Gonzalez.

Until the finals, the Derby had been the latest episode of the J-Rod Show. Rodriguez, the precocious 21-year-old Seattle Mariners outfielder, ambushed the field Monday night, ousting the two-time defending champion and smashing 81 home runs.

The first hitter of the night, Rodriguez set the tone for his showing with 32 home runs in his first-round matchup against the Texas Rangers Corey Seager. Then came Pete Alonso, the New York Mets slugger who won the last two competitions in 2019 and 2021 but mustered only 23 home runs in the semifinals, well short of Rodriguez’s 31.

Then came his matchup with Soto, against whom, Rodriguez said, he used to play Call of Duty games. Rodriguez was better at COD. Soto, at least on Monday, was superior at HRD.

“What did I show the fans?” Rodriguez said. “Who I am, I guess. They know a little bit now.”

Rodriguez, who is earning the MLB minimum salary of $700,000 this year, received a $500,000 bonus as the runner-up.

Soto was locked in from the beginning, beating Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez in the first round and St. Louis Cardinals great Pujols in the semifinals.

Pujols, 42, is in his final season — and upset Philadelphia‘s Kyle Schwarber, the No. 1 seed, in the first round, beating him in an overtime period. He couldn’t keep up with Soto, whose 482-foot home run in the first round was the longest of the night.

“I wasn’t sure if I should beat him or let him beat me, but just the respect — I respect him a lot,” Soto said. “Even though I beat him at the end of the day, it’s just a competition. He knows how much I’m proud of him and how much talent he brings to all the generations and advice that he gives to us.”

Whatever Soto’s future, wherever he winds up, whether he’s moved before this deadline or after, he said he would walk away from this All-Star week sure of one thing.

“I will be a Home Run Derby champion forever,” he said.

Pete Alonso Vying to Win Third-Straight Home Run Derby Crown

Pete Alonso is hoping for a three-peat…

The 27-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player and New York Mets first baseman will take part in this year’s Home Run Derby next week in Los Angeles.

Pete AlonsoMajor League Baseball made the announcement on Monday on its official Twitter page, confirming the return of one of the Derby’s most successful hitters.

“It’s a really fun event,” Alonso told reporters in the Mets clubhouse Monday before their 4-1 win over the Braves in Atlanta. “It’s going to be super exciting, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Also before the game, the Braves announced that star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will participate in the Derby. And later Monday, St. Louis Cardinals veteran Albert Pujols entered into the Derby as well, giving the former Los Angeles Dodgers slugger a chance participate in a familiar park.

“It’s an honor to be back in the All-Star Game and to have a chance to be part of the Home Run Derby, that’s something I enjoy a lot and my kids will have a blast,” Pujols said Monday night. “Hopefully, I can put on a good show for them, because at the end of the day, it’s not about us, it’s about putting a good show for the fans.”

Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber, who leads the National League in home runs with 28, also will participate in the event, their teams announced Tuesday.

Last year, in Denver, Alonso outlasted Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini to become the third back-to-back Home Run Derby champion.

Alonso recorded 74 home runs — totaling 6.35 miles in distance — en route to the crown.

“I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said after the win last year. “Being able to showcase that, and really putting on a fun display for fans, I just think it’s a dream come true for me because when I was young, my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this. That was one of the few nights per year I actually got to stay up past my bedtime, just watch incredible feats that you don’t see in a regular baseball game.”

And now Dodger Stadium will be his stage next Monday, as he takes a break from a regular season that has New York fans thinking about a postseason run. The Mets enter play on Monday with a 53-33 record and a first-place standing in the National League East. Alonso leads the team with 23 home runs to go along with a .273 batting average and 70 RBIs.

Last year — with New York bench coach Dave Jauss pitching to him — Alonso wowed the crowd at Coors Field with a final-round total of 23, in joining Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Cespedes (2013-14) in winning consecutive titles.

“This is just surreal,” Alonso said at the time. “It’s just truly a blessing.”

Alonso confirmed Monday that Jauss will again be his pitcher next week.

“Just need to give him about two pots of coffee for before and a case of Bud Light for after, and he said he’s good to go,” Alonso said.

Pete Alonso Ready for This Year’s Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is ready to take a swing at the title…

The 26-year-old Spanish-American New York Mets slugger is in for this year’s Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Pete Alonso

Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for his first derby title.

“I’m all-in,” Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. “I’m ready. If I get invited, I’d love to do it. I’d love to defend my title.”

Last year’s Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place July 12 at Colorado’s Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta.

Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet.

“I’m very happy that ball went far,” Alonso said. “I think Statcast kind of stumped me. I think that ball did not go [only] 429 feet, but that’s what the computer says, and I think the computer is wrong.”

Alonso’s longest home run of his career was measured at 485 feet. He thinks Wednesday’s long ball was closer to that figure than 429 feet.

“If that ball went 429 feet, that’s the shortest ball that’s ever left this stadium,” Alonso said. “I’ve hit plenty of balls here that have gone 430 feet, but if a ball leaves the stadium, there’s no way that ball went only 429 feet.”

Alonso has three home runs this season entering Thursday night’s game against the Cubs. He led the majors with 53 in 2019, his rookie year.

He enjoyed Wednesday’s homer as much as any he has hit.

“That was one of my favorite home runs I’ve hit,” he said. “That’s top five for me.”

New York Mets’ Slugger Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

Pete Alonso is living proof that persistence pays off…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American Major League Baseball player began the 2019 season fighting just to make the New York Mets‘ Opening Day roster. But he ends it as the National League Rookie of the Year after slugging a rookie record 53 home runs, driving in 120 runs and becoming a cult hero for Mets fans for his energy and enthusiasm and one memorable bare-chested postgame interview.

Pete Alonso

Alonso was a near unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters, getting 29 first-place votes. Atlanta Braves starter Mike Soroka received the other first-place vote and finished second, with San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jrfinishing third.

Soroka posted a 2.68 ERA and won 13 games as the ace of the division-winning Braves. Tatis slashed .317/.379/.590 and dazzled fans with his defensive plays in the infield, but an injury ended his season at 84 games.

“To just win the award, doesn’t matter if it’s unanimous or not,” Alonso said on Monday night. “It’s still such a blessing.”

Alonso’s 53 home runs broke Aaron Judge‘s rookie record of 52 set in 2017, as Alonso became the sixth Rookie of the Year in Mets history, the first since Jacob deGrom in 2014. 

He joins Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Davis as the only active players with 50 home runs in a season and he’s just the 30th player in MLB history to reach that mark. 

His 120 RBIs are the seventh most for a rookie in major league history and the most since Albert Pujols had 130 in 2001.

Alonso’s storybook season was no sure thing back in spring training, however. Although he led the minors with 39 home runs in 2018, the Mets had a glut of infielders with Robinson CanoJed LowrieTodd Frazier and Dominic Smith all in the mix at first, second and third base along with Alonso. There were also concerns about Alonso’s defense, and many teams start their top prospects in Triple-A for a couple of weeks to manipulate the player’s service time.

Alonso, however, earned a roster spot after hitting .352 with four home runs in spring training. It also helped that Lowrie and Frazier began the season on the injured list.

Alonso, a second-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Florida, ran with the opportunity, hitting .378 with six home runs in his first 12 games. He said he was challenged by first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenento “show up in shape and earn your spot.”

“I felt like I answered the bell,” Alonso said.

He finished April with nine home runs, bashed 10 more in May and entered the All-Starbreak with 30 home runs. In Cleveland, he took home the $1 million prize for winning the Home Run Derby, upstaging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr.in the final round with a 23-22 victory after Guerrero had bashed 40 home runs in the semifinals.

“It’s survive and advance,” Alonso said after his win. “You’ve got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn’t matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you’re facing.”

Alonso also won over fans when he pledged 5% of his winnings to the Wounded Warrior Projectand another 5% to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Along the way, Alonso became a fan favorite, not just for his prodigious home runs — he hit 15 of at least 430 feet — but also for his infectious joy and his ability to win over New Yorkers. When the Mets began surging back into the playoff race in early August, he issued a not-safe-for-work rallying cry playing off the “Let’s go Mets!” chant. After a walk-off bases-loaded walk beat the Philadephia Phillies on September 6, Mets teammates ripped off Alonso’s jersey and he conducted interviews on SNY and MLB Network bare-chested.

“I’m not taking my shirt off for this one,” Alonso joked on MLB Network’s broadcast while accepting the award.

He wore custom-made cleats on September 11 to honor the victims of 9/11, even ordering a pair for each of his teammates. “For me, I just come from a place where I want to show support, not just for the victims but their families as well, because no one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be,” Alonso said at the time.

He smashed his 42nd home run on August 27, breaking the Mets’ team record shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. With three games remaining in the regular season, Alonso was one homer away from tying Judge. He matched him with a home run at home against the Braves in Game 160 and then surpassed Judge in Game 161 with a third-inning home run off Mike Foltynewicz, a towering shot to right-center. Alonso raised both arms over his head in triumph, received hugs from teammates and a standing ovation from the crowd, and then he wiped tears from his eyes while playing first base the following inning.

“To me, it just means so much,” Alonso said after the game. “I didn’t know I was going to be overcome with all that emotion. At that point, I might as well just let it out.”

New York Mets Slugger Pete Alonso Breaks MLB’s Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonso has done it…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Mets slugger, nicknamed “Polar Bear,” has broken Major League Baseball‘s rookie home run record.

Pete Alonso

Alonso hit his 53rd home run during Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The record-breaking blast came in the third inning against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.

The fan favorite and 2019 Home Run Derby champion raised his arms to the sky as the ball soared over the wall at New York’s Citi Field. Mets fans gave him a standing ovation as he rounded the bases.

“To be a part of Major League Baseball history, to be number one out of every single guy that ever played the game, it’s humbling and it’s such just a ridiculously awesome feeling,” an emotional Alonso told reporters after the game. “That moment was just pure magic.”

“I didn’t know that I was going to be overcome with all that emotion,” added Alonso, who got teary on the field as fans cheered him. “At that point, might as well just let it out.”

https://twitter.com/Mets/status/1178103595050426368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1178103595050426368&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2019%2F09%2F29%2Fus%2Fpete-alonso-mets-record-trnd%2Findex.html

Alonso bested another New York player – New York Yankees star Aaron Judge — in becoming MLB‘s all-time home run leader for rookies. The Yankees outfielder had set the record in 2017 with 52 home runs.

The Mets won Saturday’s game 3-0. Although the team was officially eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, at least Alonso gave their fans something to celebrate.

Pete Alonso Defeats Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a Battle of Rookies to Win Home Run Derby

Pete Alonsois officially a home run champion…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, outslugged the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a battle of rookies to win the Home Run Derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Monday night.

Pete Alonso

Guerrero had broken the Derby’s single-round record in each of the first two rounds, but after surviving an exhausting duel with Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the semifinal round, Guerrero didn’t have enough to beat Alonso in the final.

The Blue Jays rookie, trying to follow in the footsteps of his Hall of Famefather, who won the event in San Francisco in 2007, went first in the final, and after initially struggling to duplicate his earlier pace, he picked it up after calling a second timeout and finished with 22 home runs.

Alonso, unique in the competition in sending most of his hits toward center field, then followed with 23 to spare to end it with plenty of time. 

He became the first Met to win the event since Darryl Strawberrywas a co-champion in 1986.

“That was a blast. Oh my god, that was a blast,” Alonso said after his win. “I’m gonna remember that for the rest of my life.”

With the win came a cool $1 million bonus to supplement Alonso’s base salary of $555,000. 

He said he would donate 10% of his winnings between two charities, the Wounded Warriors Projectand the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“I have the utmost respect for the people that put their lives on the line every single day — and I just wanna show my gratitude, because a bad day for me is a lot different than a bad day for the servicemen and women that serve this country,” Alonso said.

Guerrero has eight major league home runs in his rookie year, and he hit 44 total homers in the minors. But at the Derby, he hit 91.

The biggest drama of the night came in the semifinal round, when he needed three tiebreakers to eliminate Pederson 40-39.

Before this year’s Derby, only six players had hit 40 home runs in an entire event, much less a single round.

“I feel bad for him,” an exhausted Pederson said after his final swing. “He’s gotta keep hitting; I’m toast.”

Pederson, who lost in the final as a rookie in 2015, now has the most combined home runs at the Derby all time, with 99, while Guerrero — in his first appearance — tied the previous record of 91 held by Todd Frazier, who also competed twice.Guerrero did have the honor of hitting the longest homer of the night, 488 feet, in the second round. That netted him a $100,000 bonus to go with his $500,000 for finishing second, which more than equals his season’s salary of $468

Pitbull to Perform at This Week’s MLB All-Star Events

Pitbull is preparing for an All-Star affair…

The 36-year-old Cuban-American rap superstar will perform during ceremonies Monday night before the Major League Baseball’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

Pitbull

Bebe Rexha will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” Tuesday night before the All-Star Game at Marlins Park and Jocelyn Alice will sing “O Canada.”

Jennifer Hudson will sing at a private party in Miami Beach hosted by Stand Up to Cancer and Mastercard on Sunday night, when there also will be a New Era event with Amine and Metro Boomin.

Lenny Kravitz will perform Monday night at the Major League Baseball Players Association party in Miami.

Rapper Lil Jon was to perform at the All-Star 5K on Saturday night and Don Omar at the All-Star Zumba experience on Sunday, when Flo Rida is to give a show at Marlins Park between the All-Star Futures Game and the celebrity softball game.

Stanton Returns to the U.S. World Baseball Classic Roster

Giancarlo Stanton is back on Team USA

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, a right fielder for the Miami Marlins, is among the returnees on the 28-man U.S. World Baseball Classic roster, which also includes Colorado Rockies‘ Nolan Arenado, Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Paul Goldschmidt, San Francisco Giants‘ Buster Posey and Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Andrew McCutchen.

Giancarlo Stanton

The roster, announced Wednesday by USA Baseball, includes 18 All-Stars, two MVPs and nine Gold Glove winners.

Stanton, a three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award and National League Hank Aaron Award in 2014.

Stanton was the Home Run Derby champion in 2016.

Stanton Hits Record 61 Homers to Win All-Star Home Run Derby

Giancarlo Stanton is this year’s Home Run King…

The 26-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star put on a record display of power at Petco Park during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, peppering every landmark from the left field corner to center field.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton hit 20 homers in the final round to beat out defending champion Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox. Overall, the Miami Marlins slugger hit a record 61, shattering the single-night mark of 41 by Bobby Abreu in 2005.

Stanton’s impressive shots hit the top level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner and the top of the batter’s eye in center field.

He sent several balls just below the giant scoreboard high atop the left-field stands and several over the bullpens in left-center.

“For sure, being on the West Coast and taking the flight out here just for this, you know. I figure it’s a waste if I don’t bring this bad boy home,” Stanton said, hoisting the trophy.

The three-time All-Star is not on the National League roster for Tuesday night’s game after batting .233 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs before the break.

“I had a great time. I had a blast.”

His longest shot was estimated at 497 feet. He hit the eight longest homers of the competition and 20 of the 21 deepest drives.

“When I get a few in a row I would kind of bump it up 5 to 10 percent,” he said. “But most the time I stuck at 80-90 percent. I knew I could do it endurance-wise. I was just hoping my swing didn’t fall about.”

Stanton can defend his title at home next year when the Marlins host the All-Star Game.

“That is where I got my childhood memories, watching the Home Run Derby as a kid,” said Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles.

“Maybe some kids are watching me. I would like to return that.”

Stanton is baseball’s highest-paid player with a $325 million, 13-year deal. His new hitting coach is home run king Barry Bonds.

Stanton hit 24 homers in the first round to eliminate the Seattle MarinersRobinson Cano (seven) and 17 in the semifinals to knock out Mark Trumbo (14) of the Baltimore Orioles.

Frazier hit 13 in the first round to beat Carlos Gonzalez (12) of the Colorado Rockies, and 16 in the semifinals to eliminate Adam Duvall (15) of the Reds.