Jean Segura Agrees to Two-Year, $17 Million Deal with Miami Marlins 

Jean Segura is heading to the Sunshine State.

The 32-year-old Dominican veteran professional baseball shortstop and second baseman and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Jean SeguraIt’s the first free agent move of the offseason for the Marlins, who are coming off a 69-93 season — their 12th losing record in the past 13 years. And they’ve watched NL East rivals Atlanta, Philadelphia and the New York Mets make no shortage of moves to try and improve their loaded rosters; the Braves were World Series champions in 2021 and the Phillies won the NL pennant this year before falling to Houston in the World Series.

Segura spent the past four seasons with the Phillies, but they declined his $17 million option last month, and he instead received a $1 million buyout. In 98 games this season — he missed about two months with a fractured right index finger — Segura hit .277 with 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and 45 runs. He also appeared in the postseason for the first time in his 11-year career and delivered a key hit in Philly’s Game 3 NLCS win against the San Diego Padres.

A two-time MLB All-Star, Segura also has played full seasons for the Milwaukee BrewersArizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners. He’s a career .285 hitter with 107 home runs, 712 runs scored and 492 RBIs.

He primarily played second base for Philadelphia but also saw time at shortstop and third. Marlins All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. was limited to just 60 games in 2022 due to injury.

Z101 Digital first reported news of the agreement between Segura and the Marlins.

Carlos Santana Agrees to One-Year, $6.7 Million Contract with Pittsburgh Pirates

Carlos Santana is headed to the crow’s nest…

The 36-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball designated hitter and first baseman, nicknamed “Slamtana,” has agreed to a one-year, $6.7 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pending the results of a physical, according to ESPN.

Carlos SantanaSantana finished with a league-average OPS last year, hitting .202/.316/.376 between stints with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (an 81st-percentile exit velocity) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected far better results, something that drove his market.

Further, nobody was shifted a higher percentage last year than Santana, who saw altered defense in 356 of his 362 left-handed batting appearances. With the ban of the shift coming in 2023, the switch-hitting Santana could see a significant benefit.

After a midseason trade to the Mariners, Santana emerged quickly as a leader, something the Pirates — whose oldest position player on the 40-man roster is 31-year-old Ji-Man Choi, for whom they traded earlier this winter — desperately need.

Santana is entering his 14th season and has a career line of .242/.359/.432 with 278 home runs and 925 RBIs.

He will rejoin Pirates manager Derek Shelton, who was the big league hitting coach for Cleveland when Santana joined the organization following a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.

Still a strong defensive first baseman, Santana is best known for his plate discipline and power. He has posted walk rates of greater than 13% in every big league season and hit at least 18 home runs in each of his 11 full years in the major leagues.

The Pirates, whose payroll was among the bottom five in baseball this year for the fifth consecutive season, are expected to further to add via free agency or trades this winter, a young core led by center fielder Bryan Reynolds, shortstop Oneil Cruz, and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Starter Mitch Keller and closer David Bednar anticipate the arrival of catcher Henry Davis, second baseman Nick Gonzales and right-hander Quinn Priester.

Seattle Mariners Acquire Teoscar Hernandez from Toronto Blue Jays

Teoscar Hernandez is headed to the Emerald City

The Seattle Mariners have acquired the 30-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder and slugger in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, fortifying a lineup in need of another big bat as they try to catch the Houston Astros, their division rival and the World Series champions.

Teoscar HernandezRight-handed reliever Erik Swanson and left-handed pitching prospect Adam Macko went to the Blue Jays, whose bullpen issues last season were most apparent in a 10-9 wild-card series loss to the Mariners that ended their season.

Hernandez hit a pair of home runs in that game and is a two-time Silver Slugger winner whose power in right field is unimpeachable. He hit .267/.316/.491 last season with 25 home runs and 77 RBIs in 131 games and should man right field alongside the American League Rookie of the Year, center fielder Julio Rodriguez.

“We began our offseason with the intent to add impact and length to our lineup,” said Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners’ president of baseball operations. “In adding Teoscar to an already solid foundation, we feel we’ve become a far more dangerous offensive club.”

Toronto’s willingness to deal Hernandez has more to do with his contract status than the quality of his play. He is due to hit free agency after the 2023 season and is expected to make around $14 million in arbitration. The Blue Jays, sources said, plan to acquire another outfielder this offseason.

In Swanson and Macko, they added one arm expected to help their bullpen this year and another with high-end-starter potential.

Swanson had a breakout 2022 season, putting up a 1.68 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 53⅔ innings. With a four-seam fastball that has near-perfect backspin and a split-fingered fastball that developed into a strikeout weapon this year, Swanson was a vital part of the Mariners’ bullpen — and will join closer Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia, Zach Pop and Tim Mayza in a bullpen that could be a strength for Toronto.

“We got to the point where we felt like the acquisitions on the run-prevention side would help us,” Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said. “It does create some flexibility for us as well, in terms of resources.”

Atkins said the groundwork for the trade started during the general manager meetings last week in Las Vegas and there were “three or four teams” with a significant interest in Hernandez.

“This market for right-handed bats like Teo, he was one of the better hitters in it. We are fortunate to have some depth in that area,” Atkins said.

Macko, who turns 22 in December, struck out 60 over 38⅓ innings in High-A this year and features a mid-90s fastball and a pair of breaking balls that give him significant upside. Born in Slovakia, he graduated from high school in Vauxhall, a small town in the Canadian province of Alberta, in 2019. The Mariners selected him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft.

“If we can put him into a position where he can sustain and haul a full season of innings, he could become, easily, one of the better prospects in baseball. He’s got the arsenal to do that,” Atkins said.

The Mariners could reap an additional benefit provided Hernandez has a typical season: If they tender him a qualifying offer after 2023 and he signs elsewhere, Seattle would receive a draft choice around the 75th pick, with a slot value of around $850,000.

Julio Rodriguez Named American League Rookie of the Year

Julio Rodriguez’s banner year is ending with an exclamation point…

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, has been named the American League Rookie of the Year in near-unanimous fashion.

Julio RodriguezIt was a fitting cap to a stirring campaign that saw J-Rod dazzle at the Home Run Derby, perform among the sport’s best players and propel the Mariners to a long-awaited trip to the playoffs.

Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman receiving the other. Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven KwanKansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr. and Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the voting.

Rodriguez electrified the city of Seattle and captivated an entire nation of baseball fans with his youthful exuberance, pronounced swagger and wide-ranging talent. He slashed .284/.345/.509, leading all rookies in homers (28), OPS (.855) and total bases (260) while helping the Mariners clinch their first postseason berth since 2001, snapping the longest active drought among the four major North American professional sports.

Along the way, Rodriguez consistently came through in big spots, dazzling with his defense, power and speed. His 5.3 FanGraphs wins above replacement tied that of Rutschman for the rookie lead and was topped by only 21 position players throughout the sport.

Rodriguez, who added 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles, is now the fifth Mariners player to win rookie of the year, after Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Kyle Lewis (2020).

Only two other players since 1900 have accumulated at least 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles in their age-21-or-younger seasons — Mike Trout and Andruw Jones.

Rodriguez is the first player ever to combine 25 home runs with 25 stolen bases in his first season in the big leagues and the third to do so while still rookie eligible, along with Trout and Chris Young, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Mariners envisioned Rodriguez as a potential star when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in the summer of 2017, but he profiled more as a power-hitting corner outfielder. Rodriguez worked to become a five-tool center fielder, zooming through the Mariners’ minor league system — despite losing an entire season to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — and cracking the team’s Opening Day roster this spring.

Before the end of August, the Mariners rewarded Rodriguez with a long-term extension that will pay him anywhere between $210 million and $470 million over the life of his career, an unprecedented — and highly incentivized — contract for someone with less than a full year of major league service time.

But before all that came struggle. Rodriguez went homerless with a .544 OPS during his first month in the big leagues. But he recovered well enough to become the only rookie to make the MLB All-Star team.

“I feel like that’s when I learned the most — on the down parts,” Rodriguez said during a video conference with the media after winning the award. “That rough start to the beginning, whenever I maybe was not doing so good, all those things that happened that first year that kind of opened my eyes — I’m gonna take all that. And I know it’s gonna serve me well along my career.”

Rafael Montero Agrees to Three-Year, $34.5 Million Contract with Houston Astros

Rafael Montero isn’t leaving Houston in the near future…

The 32-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a three-year, $34.5 million contract that will bring the right-handed reliever back to the Houston Astros‘ dominant bullpen a week after the team rode its pitching staff to a World Series title, according to ESPN.

Rafael Montero,  Montero thrived in his first full season with the Astros, posting a 2.37 ERA in 68⅓ innings and allowing just three home runs while striking out 73.

Re-signing Montero deepens an Astros bullpen that already will return closer Ryan Pressly, right-handed flamethrowers Ryne Stanek and Bryan Abreu, and solid righties Hector Neris and Phil Maton.

It likewise continues the early trend in free agency of high salaries for relief pitchers, after the New York Mets signed Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102 million contract and San Diego gave right-hander Robert Suarez a five-year deal worth $46 million.

Houston acquired Montero in a July 2021 trade from the Seattle Mariners and watched him blossom into the hardest-throwing version of himself yet, with a fastball that averaged 96.5 mph. Of the remaining relievers available in free agency, Montero topped a number of teams’ lists.

The contract is a bet on Montero’s 2022 more than his previous seasons. Once a well-regarded starting-pitching prospect, Montero bounced from the Mets to the Texas Rangers to the Mariners before landing in Houston, where he allowed two runs in 9⅓ innings this postseason and struck out 10.

With a ground-ball rate of greater than 50% and high strikeout numbers, Montero was bound to generate widespread interest and took advantage of it with a deal that exceeded industrywide expectations. In 182 career games, Montero has a 4.43 ERA as a reliever and struck out 213 in 201⅓ innings.

Edwin Diaz Agrees to Five-Year, $102 Million Contract with New York Mets

Edwin Diaz isn’t going anywhere…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball pitcher, a star closer for the New York Mets, has agreed to a five-year, $102 million contract, pending a physical, according to ESPN.

Edwin DiazThere’s an opt-out and a full no-trade clause plus a sixth-year option in the contract, sources said.

The Diaz deal is the first nine-figure contract ever for a closer, and for the first time, it takes the position into the $20 million-plus range.

Diaz, who made $10 million this year, earned the big payday after a dominant 2022 season that saw him finish with 32 saves, a 1.31 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 62 innings for a Mets team that won 101 games.

New York’s bullpen finished 10th in the majors in ERA, and its top relievers in innings pitched (Adam OttavinoSeth LugoTrevor Williams and Diaz) were among the 131 players across the major leagues who were declared free agents Sunday, the day after the 2022 season ended.

Keeping Diaz is a massive move for the Mets to start the offseason, as one of baseball’s top free agents is now off the board.

Diaz was part of a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Mariners in December 2018, one that saw him and veteran second baseman Robinson Cano go to the Mets for a prospect-heavy package.

Diaz had starred in Seattle, leading the majors with 57 saves in 2018 — which tied Bobby Thigpen (1990) for the second most in a single season in baseball history, trailing only Francisco Rodriguez‘s 62 in 2008.

But his early tenure in New York was anything but successful. In his debut season in the Big Apple, he had a 5.59 ERA (seventh worst among relievers), 15 homers allowed and -0.6 bWAR in 58 innings, as Mets fans routinely booed him while on the mound.

Diaz has righted the ship since, culminating with the dominant 2022. And he’s become a fan favorite in New York, with the hit song “Narco,” by Australian musician Timmy Trumpet, played at Citi Field every time he exits the bullpen before an appearance.

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

Jeremy Peña Hits Solo Home Run to Help Houston Astros Sweep Seattle Mariners for Spot in AL Championship Series

Jeremy Peña is returning to Houston a hero…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player’s solo home run off Seattle Mariners reliever Penn Murfee provided the lone tally in the Houston Astros’ 1-0 victory that clinched a spot in the AL Championship Series for the sixth consecutive season.

Jeremy PeñaThis day, two decades in the making, seemed like it was never going to end. Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the top-seeded Astros and Mariners, hosting their first postseason game since 2001, featured epic pitching, exemplary defense and, finally, in the 18th inning, the only hit that mattered.

Never before had a postseason game gone scoreless for as long as Game 3 did. Its 18 innings tied a postseason record with three other games, its 6-hour, 22-minute run time the third longest ever. The 42 combined strikeouts set a record. The four combined walks and zero errors exemplified that this wasn’t just a battle of offensive ineptitude but rather a clinic in run prevention.

It was the capper of an oxymoronic outcome: the close sweep. While Houston took all three games in the best-of-five series, comeback victories in Games 1 and 2 showed that the Mariners were no fluke. They were simply not good enough to overcome Houston’s deep pitching staff and dangerous lineup.

“We kept putting the zero up there and they kept putting the zero up there, and you think we’re going to be able to break through because we have so many times,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s kind of what we’re accustomed to, playing those tight games and finding a way. … I mean, that is a big league game, with the pitching and defense that was fired out there. We just weren’t able to put anything together.”

In the game’s first half, the story centered around a pair of great starting pitching performances, by Seattle rookie George Kirby and Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who was battling an illness. Kirby threw seven brilliant shutout innings; McCullers nearly matched him with six. Each ceded to a bullpen that ranks among the best in baseball, something both showed as arm after arm entered and exited the game without allowing a run.

Seven Seattle relievers put up scoreless outings before Peña’s homer. Houston matched that number, led by Luis Garcia, the right-handed starter who finished with five shutout innings, allowed two hits and zero walks, struck out six and locked down the 18th to earn the victory.

Pena, the 25-year-old rookie who took over at shortstop upon the free agent departure of Carlos Correa, had provided the necessary run in the top of the inning. He entered the at-bat 0-for-7. He left it 1-for-8 after Murfee hung a slider, and Pena pummeled it out to center field.

“You could tell by his brightness in his eyes and his alertness on the field that he wasn’t scared and he wasn’t fazed by this,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Boy, he’s been a godsend to us, especially since we lost Carlos, because this could have been a disastrous situation had he not performed the way he has.”

Houston’s offense, the best in the American League this season, managed just 11 hits in 63 at-bats. Seattle’s offense, which lived by the home run this season, was 7-for-60. The Mariners struck out 22 times and drew three walks. The Astros walked just once against 20 punchouts. The defense was clean, none better than when Mariners star rookie Julio Rodriguez tracked down a Yuli Gurriel shot into the right-center-field gap in the 16th to save a pair of runs.

All night, “Ju-li-o” chants permeated T-Mobile Park, which 47,690 packed to see the Mariners’ first playoff team since the 2001 group that won 116 regular-season game but lost in the ALCS. While this Mariners core is likely to return to the playoffs in the coming years, the Astros are still the team through which the AL runs.

With a thin bullpen hamstringing them in past seasons, the Astros focused on sharpening it this year and after McCullers ran out a litany of power-armed relievers who each threw a scoreless inning: Hector NerisRafael MonteroRyan PresslyBryan Abreu and Ryne Stanek. Rookie Hunter Brown put up a pair of scoreless frames. And then came Garcia’s command performance.

“This at-bat,” Pena said of his home run, “was not going to be possible if our pitching staff didn’t keep us in the ballgame. They dominated all game. Their pitching staff dominated all game.”

The game resembled another from earlier this postseason, when the Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays were scoreless until the 15th, when rookie Oscar Gonzalez hit a walk-off home run to clinch the wild card series for the Guardians. Excellent pitching has been the key for Houston, the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, all of whom have advanced. Cleveland can grab the final championship-series spot and face the Astros with one more victory against the New York Yankees.

Yordan Alvarez Smashes Game-Ending, Three-Run Homer to Lead Houston Astros to Game 1 Win vs. the Seattle Mariners

It’s a smashing moment for Yordan Alvarez. 

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder for the Houston Astros smashed a game-ending, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Robbie Ray, wrecking the Seattle Mariners‘ strategy of using a Cy Young Award winner in a rare relief role and vaulting the Astros to an 8-7 victory on Tuesday in their playoff opener.

Yordan AlvarezTrailing all game after a poor start by Justin Verlander, the AL West champion Astros overtook rookie star Julio Rodriguez and the wildcard Mariners at the end to begin their best-of-five division series.

Houston was down 7-5 when rookie pinch-hitter David Hensley reached with one out in the ninth as Seattle closer Paul Sewald grazed his jersey with a pitch.

Sewald struck out Jose Altuve before Jeremy Pena laced a single to center field to chase Sewald.

Mariners manager Scott Servais then made the bold move to bring in Ray, who started Saturday at Toronto in the AL Wild Card Series, for a lefty vs. lefty matchup with Alvarez. Ray, who won the Cy Young last year with Toronto, had made only six relief appearances in his career and had never earned a pro save.

Alvarez, who hit 37 homers in the regular season, sent Ray’s second pitch deep into the seats in right field to set off a wild celebration with his parents in the stands.

“I think it’s one of the most special moments that I’ve had in my career,” Alvarez said. “Having them there and just for the city of Houston they know that we’re a team that never gives up, so just being able to get that hit there was one of the most special moments in his career.”

His blast was the second walk-off home run in postseason history by a team down to its final out, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The other was Kirk Gibson‘s walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a Game 1 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the 1988 World Series.

The home run had an exit velocity of 116.7 mph, the fourth-fastest of the 546 walk-off home runs in the Statcast era and the highest ever in the postseason.

Servais said the decision to use Ray was something they had thought about.

“It was something going into the series where we were at, looking at our rotation, where we were going to head, and talking with Robbie about using him out of the bullpen as a bullet, so to speak, for that type of scenario,” he said. “You know, bringing in a lefty against Alvarez, although Alvarez is one of the better hitters in the league.

“But we talked about it coming into the series. We talked about it pregame today. I looked at it in the seventh inning and said, ‘Hey, this could happen.’ So that was the plan going in.”

Houston skipper Dusty Baker, who managed Servais while with the San Francisco Giants, refused to second-guess his former player.

“If he gets him out, then it looks great … next time Robbie Ray could win, but today we won,” Baker said.

The Mariners jumped on Verlander for six runs in just four innings to build a 6-2 lead early. Yuli Gurriel hit a solo homer in the Houston fourth before Eugenio Suarez‘s solo shot in the seventh extended Seattle’s lead to 7-3.

A two-run homer by Alex Bregman off Andres Munoz cut the lead to 7-5 in the eighth inning to set up the dramatic finish.

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.