Boston Red Sox Acquire Adalberto Mondesi from Kansas City Royals

Adalberto Mondesi is seeing red (sox)…

The 27-year-old Dominican American professional baseball shortstop has been acquired by the Boston Red Sox from the Kansas City Royals for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, providing middle-infield depth to buttress losses this winter to free agency and injury.

Adalberto Mondesi The Red Sox also will be receiving a player to be named or cash considerations as part of the deal.

The Red Sox also officially announced their one-year contract with outfielder Adam Duvall and designated right-handed reliever Matt Barnes for assignment in a corresponding move. The 32-year-old Barnes, who has spent his entire nine-season major league career with the Red Sox, was 0-4 with four saves and a 4.31 ERA last season.

Mondesi, whose star-level tools made him a top prospect but whose inability to stay healthy has limited him to 358 games in seven seasons, is recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. Boston lost shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres and second baseman Trevor Story to internal bracing surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, leaving a significant middle-infield gap.

Enrique Hernandez, who has played center field for the Red Sox over the past two seasons, is expected to take over at shortstop, where he has played 100 career games.

Mondesi has spent most of his career at shortstop, though he has dabbled at second and third base in the past. He will make $3.045 million this season.

Kansas City once saw Mondesi as a foundational player in its rebuild, and he looked the part in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, hitting for power and stealing 75 bases with his elite speed. For him to be packaged with a player to be named later and return only a reliever illustrates how far Mondesi’s stock has fallen. Over his seven seasons, Mondesi’s career line is .244/.280/.408 with 38 home runs and 133 stolen bases.

Taylor, 29, has been effective in his two full seasons with the Red Sox but missed all of 2022 with a back injury.

In 2021, he struck out 60 in 47⅔ innings, walked 23 and allowed only two home runs. Taylor, who has thrown multiple bullpen sessions recently and is expected to be healthy in time for spring training, will join Aroldis Chapman — who recently signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal — Amir Garrett and perhaps Angel Zerpa as left-handers in the Royals’ bullpen.

Kansas City might not be done dealing, either. Earlier in the week, it traded center fielder Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota, and sources told ESPN the Royals have spoken with teams about utilityman Hunter Dozier — who’s owed $17.25 million over the next two seasons — and infielder Nicky Lopez, who had a WAR of 4.2 in 2021.

Eric Hosmer Agrees to One-Year Contract with Chicago Cubs

Eric Hosmer is headed to the Windy City

The Chicago Cubs filled a need at first base and designated hitter, giving the 33-year-old half-Cuban American free agent a one-year contract, according to ESPN.

Eric Hosmer, Chicago will only have to pay Hosmer the minimum salary, according to ESPN sources, as he still has three years and $39 million left on a contract he signed with the San Diego Padres in 2018.

Hosmer was traded from the Padres to the Boston Red Sox last season, not long after San Diego acquired Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.

Hosmer was released by the Red Sox at the end of the year.

Hosmer has a career .764 OPS while spending his best seasons with the Kansas City Royals who he helped to a World Series title in 2015.

Two years later, he signed an 8-year, $144 million deal with San Diego which runs through 2025. The Padres are paying most of that remaining salary.

Hosmer figures to see time mostly at designated hitter as well as first base. The team also has holdover Patrick Wisdom, who can play first, as well as prospect Matt Mervis. Mervis hit 36 home runs combined in three different levels of the minors last season, but it’s not clear if he’ll make the team out of spring training.

Last season, Hosmer had a hot April — compiling an OPS over 1.000 — but cooled off for the final months of the year. From May to October, his OPS was just .636.

The signing is part of a longer term plan by the Cubs who are attempting to improve in 2023 after a 74 win season but also have an eye on competing at a higher level in the coming years. The deal should be viewed similar to Cody Bellinger‘s one-year contract — as a bridge to younger prospects who aren’t quite ready for the majors.

Along with Mervis potentially taking over at first base, the team is hoping centerfield, where Bellinger plays, will be manned by Pete Crow-Armstrong soon. He was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets in July 2021.

Hosmer joins Bellinger, shortstop Dansby Swanson, pitcher Jameson Taillon and catcher Tucker Barnhart as key offseason acquisitions for Chicago.

Rafael Devers Reportedly Agrees to 11-Year, $331 Million Contract Extension with Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers is thisclose to a historic MLB deal…

The 26-year-old Dominican professional baseball third baseman is finalizing an 11-year, $331 million contract extension with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN, a deal that will keep him from reaching free agency this year and constitutes the longest and largest guarantee ever given by the franchise.

Rafael DeversThe agreement, which would be the largest ever for a third baseman, comes in the midst of an arduous winter for the Red Sox, who lost longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres in free agency nearly three years after trading star right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Offering Devers to a deal far longer than Manny Ramirez‘s eight-year pact and more than 50% larger than David Price‘s $217 million contract was enough for the two-time MLB All-Star to accept shepherding the Red Sox out of last place in the American League East and back to contention.

The contract will start in 2023 and extend through the 2033 season, sources said. The one-year, $17.5 million contract Devers signed earlier in the week to avoid arbitration will be superseded by the long-term deal.

Devers debuted with Boston at 20 years old in 2017 and quickly illustrated why scouts so adored his bat. His left-handed swing was perfectly suited for Fenway Park, with doubles thwacking off the Green Monster and home runs carrying out to right field. Devers’ acumen has only grown. In 2022, he hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 88 RBIs and a career-best OPS+ of 141.

It was similar to his 2021 season, in which Devers hit 38 home runs, and 2019, when he led the major leagues with 359 total bases as a 22-year-old. The consistency made him the perfect candidate to keep around long term with the losses of Bogaerts and Betts, whose steadiness was among their defining characteristics. Early negotiations on a deal bore no fruit, with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Devers’ agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of Rep 1, far apart in their valuations.

Whether the backlash from losing Bogaerts and Betts — and just losing — had any effect on the consummation of the deal is unclear. But on Monday, with Fenway Park hosting the majestic Winter Classic, fans booed John Henry, a show of the sentiment toward the owner under whom the Red Sox broke their 86-year World Series drought before winning three more championships.

Seeing Bogaerts walk with an offer tens of millions of dollars short stung, especially with the Red Sox designating for assignment Jeter Downs, the main prospect return in the Betts deal, just days after. Bogaerts, 30, was, like Devers, a homegrown star: five Silver Sluggers, four All-Star appearances and two World Series rings. The notion of a long-term left side of the infield with Bogaerts and Devers felt natural to a Red Sox fan base coming to terms with last-place finishes in two of the past three seasons, sandwiched around an ALCS appearance.

When Bogaerts left, the focus turned naturally to Devers, who benefited greatly from the megadeals given out this winter. Aaron Judge topped the list with $360 million from the New York YankeesTrea Turner got $300 million from Philadelphia and Bogaerts $280 million from the Padres. And Carlos Correa agreed to a pair of $300 million-plus deals, though medical foibles have his status in limbo.

Beyond Bogaerts this offseason, World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi left for the Texas Rangers, and the Red Sox fell short of signing multiple free agent targets. Instead, the Red Sox redistributed the resources across the roster by adding Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal, relievers Kenley Jansen (two years, $32 million) and Chris Martin (two years, $17 million), third baseman Justin Turner at two years for $21 million and starter Corey Kluber at a year and $10 million.

Devers will be the roster’s cornerstone and the face of the franchise for the new era of the Red Sox. Though the third baseman has improved defensively over this career, he could potentially move to first base or designated hitter down the road. But as long as his swing and production are even a facsimile of what he has done, it won’t matter what position he’s playing.

Omar Minaya to Serve as Adviser to Baseball Operations for New York Yankees

Omar Minaya is heading to the New York Yankees corporate office…

The 64-year-old Dominican baseball executive, a former New York Mets general manager, is joining the team as an adviser to baseball operations.

Omar MinayaThe move to hire Minaya comes two days after the Yankees brought former San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean into the front office as an executive assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.

Minaya is a native of Queens and started scouting after the conclusion of his minor league career.

He worked for the Texas Rangers before moving to the Mets, the Montreal Expos, back to the Mets, and the San Diego Padres before returning to the Mets for a third time.

He was the general manager of the Expos from 2002 through 2004 and the Mets from 2005 through 2010.

The veteran baseball executive most recently worked with Major League Baseball as a consultant for domestic and international amateur scouting initiatives. Among his most notable accomplishments was helping discover Sammy Sosa and Ivan Rodriguez as a scout for the Rangers.

The Yankees’ front office has received criticism in recent years for leaning too hard on analytics, and adding Sabean and Minaya brings in two executives with successful scouting backgrounds.

Carlos Correa Agrees to 13-Year, $350 Million Contract with San Francisco Giants

Carlos Correa has landed a Giant(s) deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Carlos CorreaIt’s a record-long deal that is the richest ever for the position and gives the team a franchise-type player around which it plans to build, according to ESPN.

The free agent path of Correa was far less circuitous than last year, when he entered the market in hopes of landing a $300 million-plus deal but wound up signing a shorter-term contract with the Minnesota Twins that included an opt-out after the first season.

This offseason, Correa found a market that lavished $300 million on Trea Turner and $280 million on Xander Bogaerts far more to his liking, and he wound up with the second-biggest deal, behind Aaron Judge‘s nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees.

The 13 years ties Bryce Harper‘s $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in March 2019, and like Harper, Correa received a full no-trade clause and a contract without any opt-outs, sources said.

The $350 million exceeds the $341 million shortstop Francisco Lindor received from the New York Mets and the $340 million for shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with the San Diego Padres. And in the history of baseball, only Mike Trout‘s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles AngelsMookie Betts $365 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Judge’s exceed it in value.

About a year after turning down a five-year, $160 million contract with the Houston Astros, with whom Correa blossomed into a star, he landed more than twice that on the heels of a single season spent with the Twins, with whom he made $35.1 million before opting out of the final two years of his deal.

In his one season with Minnesota, Correa looked like his vintage self, hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 136 games.

While he didn’t match his Platinum Glove-winning 2021 campaign, Correa is regarded as one of the game’s best defensive shortstops, posting his fourth season with 5.0-plus wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The Giants paid him like a superstar, as the combination of Correa’s position, age and productivity — regular season and postseason — convinced them to make him among the highest-earning players in baseball.

Before Correa, the last player the Giants signed to a $100 million-plus contract was pitcher Johnny Cueto, who received a six-year, $130 million deal in December 2015.

At baseball’s winter meetings, the Giants had hoped to strike a deal for Judge, the reigning American League MVP. But the Yankees upped their offer to $40 million per year, and Judge agreed to stay in New York. With Turner and Bogaerts off the board too, the opportunity to sign a foundational player had dwindled to Correa and former Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Since the retirement of catcher Buster Posey following the 2021 season, the Giants had sought a star to be the start of something new, looking beyond the glory years of the early 2010s, when San Francisco won three World Series, and before that, when Barry Bonds dazzled sellout crowds nightly. Correa has the poise and ability to be just that.

Excellence was predestined after he went to the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He shot through the organization and debuted at 20 years old in 2015, winning AL Rookie of the Year. By his second season, Correa was one of the best players in baseball. And in 2017, he helped the Astros win their first World Series title, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 runs in 18 postseason games.

The Astros reached the AL Championship Series in 2018 and the World Series in 2019, with Correa a foundational player for their success. But the revelation in November 2019 that Houston had used a sign-stealing scheme during their championship season sullied the title and landed especially hard on Correa, who was outspoken in his defense of the team.

Correa’s excellence continued unabated. He was among the best players in the 2020 postseason and again played well in 2021, pushing his career postseason line to .272/.344/.505 with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs in 79 games. With shortstop prospect Jeremy Pena primed to reach the big leagues, though, Houston moved on from Correa, whose free agent market never materialized after an early dalliance with the Detroit Tigers and led to him signing a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins.

With Minnesota, Correa quickly became a clubhouse leader, and over his final 120 games, he hit .307/.381/.496 with 21 home runs. The Twins hoped he would return but recognized his market would be unlikely to break the same way it did following 2021.

Over his eight-year career, Correa has compiled nearly 40 rWAR — only Trout, Betts, Nolan ArenadoPaul Goldschmidt and Manny Machado have more in the same stretch — and a career line of .279/.357/.479 with 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games. His 12.6 defensive WAR rank fourth, behind Andrelton SimmonsKevin Kiermaier and Arenado.

Just how long Correa stays at shortstop is a question multiple executives posited during his free agency. The outs above average metric placed him in the bottom 20% of shortstops last season, while defensive runs saved pegged him as slightly above average. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Correa is among the game’s biggest players at shortstop, where he has played all 881 of his career games in the field.

Regardless of where Correa’s glove winds up, his bat will determine whether the megadeal is a success. And in the short term, it will help determine whether Correa again reaches the postseason — this time with a Giants team that won the National League West in 2021 but finished 81-81 this year — or, for the first time in his career, misses it in consecutive seasons.

Robert Suarez Agrees to $46 Million, Five-Year Contract with San Diego Padres

Robert Suarez has landed a father of a deal…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher and reliever has agreed to remain with the San Diego Padres under a $46 million, five-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Robert Suarez The deal, pending a physical, was first reported by MLB Network. Suarez can opt out after three years and become a free agent again, the reports said.

Suarez, a rookie, was having a terrific postseason until allowing Bryce Harper‘s go-ahead, two-run homer with no outs in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series that sent the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series.

Manager Bob Melvin was criticized by some for letting Suarez pitch to Harper instead of using left-hander Josh Hader. Melvin said Hader wasn’t ready when Harper came to bat and that he wanted to get through the final three innings with Suarez and Hader, the Padres’ two best relievers. Melvin said he wanted to get two outs from Suarez in the eighth and the final four outs from Hader. Philadelphia won 4-3.

Suarez, who is represented by Amuse Sports, will make salaries of $10 million in each of the first three years of the deal and $8 million in the last two. Additionally, he can make up to $3 million per season if he finishes a certain number of games. Those incentives will pay off if Hader is not retained after his contract expires following next season and Suarez becomes the closer.

Suarez was especially impressive in the NL Division Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, throwing four scoreless innings in three appearances. He pitched two scoreless innings in a wild-card series win against the New York Mets.

He went 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 45 appearances during the regular season.

Yordan Alvarez Among This Year’s American League MVP Finalists

Yordan Alvarez is still in the running…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder for the Houston Astros has been named a finalist for this year’s Major League Baseball’s American League MVP honor.

Yordan AlvarezAlvarez, who hit a home run in Game 6 of the World Series to give the Astros the trophy, will face off against Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees) and Shohei Ohtani (RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels)

From both the American League and National League, 24 players and managers were shortlisted as finalists for four different awards as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Manny Machado (3B, San Diego Padres) has been named a finalist in the National League MVP race. He’ll face off against Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals) and Nolan Arenado (3B, St. Louis Cardinals).

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, Miami Marlins) and Julio Urías (LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers) are up for the National League Cy Young 2022 Awards alongside Max Fried (LHP, Atlanta Braves).

The American League Rookie of the Year finalists include Julio Rodríguez, (CF, Seattle Mariners), who is competing against

Steven Kwan (LF, Cleveland Guardians) and (Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles) for the title.

The winners for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year will be announced next week, with one category going live each day on the MLB Network beginning at 6:00 pm ET.

Monday, Nov. 14: Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year
Tuesday, Nov. 15: Managers of the Year
Wednesday, Nov. 16: Cy Young Awards
Thursday, Nov. 17: MVP Awards

Here’s a look at all the candidates from each league:

AL Rookie of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Steven Kwan, LF, Cleveland Guardians
Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles
Julio Rodríguez, CF, Seattle Mariners

NL Rookie of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Brendan Donovan, UTIL, St. Louis Cardinals
Michael Harris II, CF, Atlanta Braves
Spencer Strider, RHP, Atlanta Braves

AL Manager of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Terry Francona, Cleveland Guardians
Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners 

NL Manager of the Year 2022 Finalists:
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Buck Showalter, New York Mets
Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves

AL Cy Young 2022 Finalists:
Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Alek Manoah, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Justin Verlander, RHP, Houston Astros 

NL Cy Young 2022 Finalists:
Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Miami Marlins
Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves
Julio Urías, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers 

AL MVP 2022 Finalists:
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Los Angeles Angels
Yordan Alvarez, DH/LF, Houston Astros

NL MVP 2022 Finalists:
Manny Machado, 3B, San Diego Padres
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado Earns 10th Consecutive Gold Glove Award

Make that a perfect 10 for Nolan Arenado

The 31-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American baseball player, a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, has become the fourth infielder to win 10 consecutive Rawlings Gold Gloves, when baseball’s winners for the sport’s most prestigious fielding awards were announced on ESPN2 before Game 3 of the World Series.

Nolan ArenadoArenado has won the National League‘s Gold Glove at third base in each of his 10 seasons in the major leagues. That streak ties former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki for the longest by a player at any position to start a career.

The only infielders who put together longer streaks were Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (third base, 16 straight Gold Gloves) and Ozzie Smith (shortstop, 13 straight) and former Cardinals and New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez (11 straight).

The Gold Gloves once tended to favor repeat winners, but this year’s list of honorees marked a season of unprecedented change. A record 14 players won their first Gold Gloves, including all but one of the winners in the American League.

The AL‘s first timers were Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane BieberNew York Yankees catcher Jose TrevinoToronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cleveland Guardians second baseman Andres GimenezBaltimore Orioles third baseman Ramon UriasHouston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena, Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan, Guardians center fielder Myles Straw and Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker.

The AL’s only repeat winner was the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu, who was recognized as a utility player.

There was a little more familiarity among those who joined Arenado as Gold Glovers on the National League side. The first-time winners included Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian WalkerColorado Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers, Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby SwansonChicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ and Cardinals utility player Brendan Donovan.

Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto won his second Glove Glove, joining Houston’s Pena and Tucker in learning of their honor during the lead-up to their World Series contest.

“It’s a pretty cool moment, for sure,” Pena said. “[Getting] congratulated by our teammates. We know the focus is the game, so we’re going to enjoy this for a little bit and then get ready for the game.”

Pena joined Kwan and Donovan as winners during their rookie seasons, another record. The only other time in which there has been even two rookie Gold Glovers was 2020 (Luis Robert and Evan White).

In taking the honor, Pena continued to prove a worthy successor at the position in Houston to Carlos Correa, who won the award last season. Pena became the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.

“I heard that today and I was in shock because I didn’t know that was a thing,” Pena said. “But it’s pretty cool.”

San Diego Padres center fielder Trent Grisham won for the second time, while Los Angeles Dodgers star right fielder Mookie Betts won his sixth Gold Glove. Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried was honored for the third time.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Gold Glove winners:

American League
P: Shane Bieber, Cleveland
C: Jose Trevino, New York
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto
2B: Andres Gimenez, Cleveland
3B: Ramon Urias, Baltimore
SS: Jeremy Pena, Houston
LF: Steven Kwan, Cleveland
CF: Myles Straw, Cleveland
RF: Kyle Tucker, Houston

National League
P: Max Fried, Atlanta
C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia
1B: Christian Walker, Arizona
2B: Brendan Rodgers, Colorado
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis
SS: Dansby Swanson, Atlanta
LF: Ian Happ, Chicago
CF: Trent Grisham, San Diego
RF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles

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.

Chicago Cubs Claim Franmil Reyes from Cleveland Guardians

Franmil Reyes is heading to the Windy City…

The Chicago Cubs have claimed the Dominican professional baseball outfielder and designated hitter off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians.

Franmil Reyes Reyes, who began the season as the cleanup hitter for the Guardians, was designated for assignment by the team on Saturday.

He had been optioned to Triple-A Columbus earlier last week after batting .213 with nine home runs and 104 strikeouts in 263 at-bats.

Reyes belted 37 homers in 2019 — splitting the season between Cleveland and the San Diego Padres — and had 30 homers and a career-high 85 RBIs in 2021.

He is earning $4.55 million on a one-year contract this season and is arbitration-eligible the next two seasons.