SEATTLE — Kyle Seager has cashed in on the best season of his young career, becoming the third Seattle Mariners player to reach the $100 million threshold.
The third baseman and the Mariners have agreed to a $100 million, seven-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal is pending a physical.
Seager is coming off his first all-star game selection and his first Gold Glove. The 27-year-old hit .268 with a career-high 25 homers and 96 RBIs.
Seager was eligible for salary arbitration and would have been eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. He made $540,000 last season and now joins pitcher Felix Hernandez and second baseman Robinson Cano as Mariners with nine-figure contracts.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement. There was no comment from the team.
Seattle said it was committed to raising its payroll after the team won 87 games and finished one game back for the AL’s second wild card.
“We can be told that we’re young, that we’re going to be good, that we’re going to be competing, that we’re going to win, but to get out there and to do it is a major step forward,” Seager said after the season finale. “Once you see yourself in that position and once you’re actually out there on the field knowing that not only can you compete with anybody but you can beat anybody, is a big step forward.”
Unlike his first two seasons when there was little protection around him, Seager was no longer asked to be the anchor of Seattle’s batting order. Having Cano in the lineup led to Seager getting better pitches and more opportunities to drive in runs. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon also challenged Seager to be less of a pull hitter and use the entire field.
It didn’t start that way in 2014. Seager was mired in a significant slump for the first three weeks, turning his struggles around when he hit a game-winning, ninth-inning homer against Houston on April 23 that stopped Seattle’s eight-game losing streak. Seager was hitting .156 entering that game. Over his next 73 games leading into the all-star break, Seager hit .307 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs.
But even when he struggled at the plate, Seager continued to thrive in the field. He made just eight errors in 422 chances and his .981 fielding percentage was the best among big league third basemen.
Seager was a second baseman for most of his collegiate career at North Carolina before making the transition to third base in the pros.
“This is one of the awards where you put a lot of hard work and effort in and when you win it, you almost can’t believe it,” Seager said after winning the honour this month.