Mariners become first team to sign a player at Double-A level to a long-term extension

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The Seattle Mariners have agreed to a long-term deal with first baseman prospect Evan White, the team announced on Monday. White, 23, spent last season with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. No player at the Double-A level has ever signed a long-term extension, ESPN's Jeff Passan notes.

The contract is a six-year deal reportedly worth $24 million and contains three club options. The contract, can max out at $55.5 million if the options are exercised, according to The Athletic's Robert Murray. The rebuilding Mariners, who finished the 2019 at 68-94, are able to solidify White as a key part of their path to contention. White is expected to become the Mariners primary first baseman, Passan reports.

"Evan White stands out in so many ways," Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said in a team statement. "We love the player and we love the person. The combination made it very easy to want to sign him for the better part of the next decade."

In Double A, White hit .293/.350/.488 with 55 RBI, 18 home runs, 13 doubles and two triples in 92 games. The Mariners selected White with the No. 17 pick of the 2017 MLB draft out of the University of Kentucky.

CBS Sports' RJ Anderson ranked White as the fourth-best prospect in Seattle's farm system. "White is widely held as the best defensive first baseman in the minors, and one of the best cold-corner gloves in the game," Anderson wrote.

The White contract follows a trend in Major League Baseball where clubs are signing their younger players to long-term deals. The Phillies made a similar move in signing a player without any MLB experience to a long-term deal when they agreed to a six-year contract last March with top prospect Scott Kingery.

Before the start of the 2019 season, the White Sox signed outfielder Eloy Jimenez to a six-year deal worth $43 million guaranteed. Jimenez, like White and Kingery, had never appeared in a MLB game. Jimenez got called up the the big leagues at the end of March, and spent the rest of the season with the club where he hit .267/.315/.513 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI.

Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

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