Marlins sign seven-year contract extension with 23-year-old Christian Yelich

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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.

Cardinals-White Sox opener pushed back to Saturday

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CHICAGO — St. Louis’ series opener against the Chicago White Sox has been postponed to Saturday, giving the Cardinals an extra day to recover from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cardinals, who haven’t played since July 29, were set to resume their season Friday night in Chicago. But the series opener was pushed back to a straight doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, the beginning of an extended stay in the Windy City for the Cards.

There was no word from Major League Baseball on the postponement, but John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, confirmed the move in a conference call with reporters. Mozeliak also said the team is going to play doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after the NL Central rivals had a series postponed last weekend.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation also confirmed the postponement of the series opener against the White Sox. The people spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because MLB had not announced the schedule change.

The Cardinals’ season has been derailed by the coronavirus. Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Paul DeJong are among the players who have tested positive.

St. Louis, the defending NL Central champions, has played just five games, winning two. It seems unlikely that it will be able to make up every one of its games that have been postponed during the pandemic-delayed season.

While announcing Sunday night that St. Louis’ series against Pittsburgh had been postponed, MLB said the league and the Cardinals believed it was “prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play.”