M’s announce 7-year, $100M deal with third baseman Seager

SEATTLE — All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager and Seattle finalized a $100 million, seven-year contract Tuesday, the third nine-figure deal for the suddenly high-spending Mariners.

The Mariners announced the deal Tuesday, a week after the sides first reached agreement. The contract includes a club option for 2022.

“As one of our homegrown players, it is nice to know that he will remain with us for at least seven more seasons,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. “Kyle has taken a step forward each season since joining the organization in 2009, and has turned into one of the premier third baseman in the game.”

Seager is coming off his first All-Star selection and Gold Glove. The 27-year-old hit .268 with a career-high 25 homers and 96 RBIs.

Seager was eligible for salary arbitration and could have become a free agent after the 2017 season. He made $540,000 last season and now joins pitcher Felix Hernandez ($175 million) and second baseman Robinson Cano ($240 million) as Mariners with $100 million-or-more deals. Seattle also has a pending deal with free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz to bolster its batting order.

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity that the Seattle Mariners have given me,” Seager said in a statement. “This is an amazing honor for me and my family to remain with such a great organization for the foreseeable future.”

Seager made just eight errors in 422 chances, and his .981 fielding percentage was the best among big league third basemen. His fielding percentage was the 10th highest for an AL third baseman since 1948.

And unlike his first two full 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 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.

He was just the third Seattle batter with at least 20 homers in three of his first four seasons in the majors.

Seager gets a $3.5 million signing bonus, payable when the contract is approved by Major League Baseball. His salaries start at $4 million next year and increase to $7.5 million in 2016, $10.5 million in 2017, $18.5 million in 2018, $19 million apiece in 2019 and 2020 and $18 million in 2021.

Seattle has a $15 million option for 2022, initially with no buyout. Depending on plate appearances and awards, the option price could escalate to $20 million and Seager could earn a buyout of up to $3 million. If Seager is traded, the option would become his.

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