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MLB Contracts: Julio Rodriguez Contract a Steal for Seattle Mariners

The Seattle Mariners are in the heat of the American League Wild Card race when arguably the best news all season broke yesterday afternoon: the team announced a new Julio Rodriguez contract, inking the All-Star rookie outfielder Julio Rodríguez to a long-term deal that has the potential to become the richest deal in American sports history.

Julio Rodríguez"s Hot Start

Julio Rodríguez has been electric throughout the 2022 campaign, making an All-Star appearance, stole the show at the Home Run Derby, and the Seattle Mariners rookie the likely front-runner for the American League Rookie of the Year race.

After a slow start in April, the rookie outfielder is slashing .267/.326/.467 with an OPS of .793 on the season as of August 27th. As of this writing, Julio is currently only one of two players in all of MLB to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases this season and only the 12th rookie ever to accomplish the feat. Defensively, Julio has been stellar as a rookie. According to Baseball Savant, Julio Rodríguez ranks 7th in Runs Prevented (5), 7th in OAA (5), 2nd in Success Rate (95%), and 1st in Estimated Success Rate (93%) among all centerfielders.

His highlight plays on both offense and defense have helped him be a vital contributor for the 69-57 Mariners, seeking to make their first postseason appearance since 2001 and break the longest playoff drought in major North American professional sports.

Why the Julio Rodriguez contract is a steal

The base of this contract is an 8-year, $120 million deal and a very team-friendly base salary of $18 million, which will place him just outside of the Top-50 players, according to Spotrac. To put that in perspective, the highest-paid position player by base salary is Anthony Rendon, who makes a base salary of $36 million.

A guarantee of at least $210 million makes Rodríguez"s extension the largest contract ever for a player with fewer than two years of major-league service time. The current largest overall contract in MLB history is the $426.5 million extension that Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019. 

Dayn Perry, CBS Sports

With all of the variable incentives in place, the total maximum value climbs to $470 million, making it the largest overall contract in MLB history, but the way contracts have been one-upping one another each year, this deal may not even likely be in the top three to five richest contracts by 2028 when the Mariners make a decision for the club option on this contract. If the club declines their option, Julio would have a 5-year, $90 million player option and, if he also declines, Julio would still receive another major payday right before he turns 30 years old.

This Julio Rodriguez contract extension opens the championship window for the Seattle Mariners. Julio Rodríguez has been sensational for the Mariners already in his young career and, assuming he stays healthy and continues to progress, we will look back on this contract extension as one of the biggest steals of a contract in a very long time.

What are your thoughts on the Julio Rodriguez contract with the Seattle Mariners? Let us know in the comments below!

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