Third baseman Kyle Seager and the Seattle Mariners are nearing a seven-year, $100 million contract extension, major league sources told Yahoo Sports, marking the third consecutive offseason in which Seattle would sign a player to a nine-figure deal as it attempts to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Seager, 27, has grown into one of baseball’s most consistent third basemen since joining the Mariners in 2011. Last season, he hit .268/.334/.454 with 25 home runs, won his first Gold Glove and ranked among the American League leaders in Wins Above Replacement. The Mariners’ commitment to Seager signals not just a willingness to spend but an urgency to keep the rare player whose offensive prowess can overcome the difficult hitting environment of Safeco Field.
The contract includes an eighth-year club option that could be worth up to $20 million, based on Seager achieving certain escalators. Seager must pass a routine physical before the deal, which was negotiated by Andrew Lowenthal of Jet Sports Management, is official.
A third-round pick out of the University of North Carolina in 2009, Seager ascended to the major leagues with little fanfare, never gracing prospect lists, his position in the infield unclear and his power rarely showing. As he bounced around from third base to shortstop to second base in his rookie season, Seager showed flashes of everyday talent. It blossomed with a 20-homer season in his first full year, and his 67 home runs over the past three years are fourth among third basemen, behind Adrian Beltre, Pedro Alvarez and Evan Longoria. At the same time, Seager would be the first player ever to receive a nine-figure contract without one season in which he hit at least .280 or put up an OPS over .800, and only Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and David Wright have signed richer contracts at third base.
Seager would join Mike Trout, Buster Posey and Freddie Freeman as the only players in their first arbitration-eligible season or before to lock in a $100 million-plus deal. In signing Seager, the Mariners would buy out his first four seasons of free agency and could have a fifth with the option.
The expected signing is the first move in a potentially busy offseason for Seattle, which has entertained trading for outfielder Justin Upton, signing infielder Hanley Ramirez and pursuing Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. Among second baseman Robinson Cano, starting pitcher Felix Hernandez and Seager, the Mariners will have committed more than half a billion dollars to three players. No other Mariners player is signed to a multiyear deal beyond the 2015 season.
Following a late-September fade in which the Mariners lost five consecutive games and ceded a potential playoff spot, Seattle ramped up negotiations with the 6-foot, 210-pound Seager. Once the deal is official, Seattle will be one of six teams with at least three nine-figure players, along with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels.
Seager’s youngest brother, Corey, is a top prospect at shortstop for the Dodgers. The middle brother, Justin, spent last year as a corner infielder with the Mariners’ Class-A affiliate, Clinton.
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