Seattle Mariners sign Evan White to MLB deal before his debut

SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Evan White #15 of the Seattle Mariners is introduced to the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: AFL West All-Star, Evan White #15 of the Seattle Mariners is introduced to the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners have finally gotten into the extension game, but with a twist. Instead of the much talked about Mitch Haniger extension, Seattle gave a player with zero MLB games played a new major league deal.

The rumors are flying and all that is left to wait for is the official news from the Mariners themselves. But we can confirm that Seattle and GM Jerry Dipoto have reached an agreement with first base prospect Evan White on a brand new Major League contract.

The 2017 first-round pick will now earn $24 million over the next 6 years and is now the favorite to be the everyday first baseman for the 2020 team. Reports also indicate that the deal includes 3 team options, adding roughly $30 million to the deal if all are activated. In total, the Mariners now control the first 9-years of White’s career at the cool sum of $55 million (max).

The deal came as quite a surprise to Mariners fans and much of baseball. White is just the 4th player ever to receive an MLB extension before playing in an MLB game. The last player to do so was Scott Kingery of the Phillies.

For White, he gets guaranteed money, aka security, and will no longer have to deal with service time manipulation issues in his career. When he’s ready, he will be called up. The Mariners lock down a potential, above-average player for replacement level cost and send a message to players in their organization: put in the work and we will reward you.

These types of deals are often viewed as win-win scenarios as both the player and team walk away happy. The Mariners now have the most athletic and defensively gifted first baseman in the sport locked into their long-term plans.

White is a good bet to hit for average and has added more loft to his swing since joining the Mariners, tapping into some of the power Seattle has always believed would come. He may never hit 30 home runs in a season, but a .280/.350/.475 slash line with 15-20 home runs and 30 doubles on top of Gold Glove defense is a reasonable expectation.

For the Mariners to not recoup the cost of this deal, White would have to be a major disappointment. Using the formula of 1 WAR being equal to $7 million, White only needs to average 0.7 WAR per season. There is a good chance White repays the team by the middle of year 3 or 4, making it a slam dunk deal for Seattle.

Many are now speculating that White will be the Opening Day first baseman in 2020, but this may be a bit premature. All the signing will do is remove service time manipulation from the equation. White still has things he needs to prove he can do, so a trip to AAA Tacoma to start 2020 isn’t out of the question.

Next. Rule 5 Big Board: 5 potential Mariners targets in the Rule 5 Draft. dark

At the end of the day, the Mariners got a good looking player locked up for at least the next 6 years and Evan White got paid now instead of waiting for another 3 years to start making close to market value for his talents. Both sides are happy and a message has been sent. Today is a good day for the Seattle Mariners.

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