Christian Yelich and the Marlins are “close” to inking a seven-year contract worth more than $40 million in guaranteed money, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
Yelich was the Marlins’ first-round pick in 2010, debuted in 2013 as a 21-year-old, and had an impressive first full season in the majors last year, hitting .284 with nine homers, 21 steals, and a .764 OPS in 144 games while winning a Gold Glove award in left field.
He’s currently making the minimum salary and was already under the Marlins’ team control through 2019, so a seven-year deal would buy out either one or two seasons of free agency depending on whether it officially begins this season or in 2016.
Yelich has shown uncommonly strong on-base skills for such a young hitter, drawing 101 walks in 933 career plate appearances on the way to posting a nice .365 on-base percentage through age 22. Toss in good speed and plus defense in the outfield and he absolutely looks like a long-term building block for Miami.
Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins agreed to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension in November, so he’ll be driving in Yelich an awful lot.
UPDATE: Multiple outlets are now reporting that the deal is worth just a hair under $50 million.