Christian Yelich signs 7-year contract

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins took another step toward keeping their young talent in Miami, agreeing to a seven-year, $49.5 million contract with outfielder Christian Yelich on Sunday.

The Marlins have a club option for an eighth year with the 2010 first-round draft pick. They have now locked up two-thirds of their outfield through 2021. Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year deal worth $325 million in November.

"It says we want to win now, and in the future," said Yelich. "I'm excited about the direction we're headed. It's great to have a good team now and in the future."

The 23-year-old Yelich hit .284 last year in his first full major league season. He had nine homers and 54 RBIs and also won a Gold Glove. He is the latest homegrown product Miami has secured for the long term.

Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, manager Mike Redmond and club president David Samson were joined by Yelich's mother, Alecia Yelich, at Sunday's news conference.

Yelich's agent, Joseph Longo, wasn't so sure the deal would get done back in October.

"They had reached out to us before Stanton's deal got done," Longo said. "We didn't talk about terms so when I called Christian I said, 'I don't want you to take this as a bad thing because they don't have a history of doing stuff like this with a first-year guy.' But then Stanton signed and that was impressive to Christian about this organization and that got some momentum going."

Yelich reported to Jupiter in February, and Longo wound up having two face-to-face meetings with Hill -- each lasting about two hours. The details were pretty much worked out last Tuesday. Longo credited Yelich with making it clear he wanted to get something done before the season started.

Those negotiations fell in line with the plan owner Jeffrey Loria had in mind in order to send a message to the players and the fans about how serious he was this time around.

"We've made a decision on two players now, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, and we think we're right but time will tell," Samson said. "Basically the way Jeffrey presented it to Mike and D.J. was build a team that we can sustain and that can show some stability but has sustainability. That's the key to the tiered way we built it in terms of when contracts expire."

Perhaps next in line is young centerfielder Marcell Ozuna, whose agent Scott Boras, has indicated he is not in a hurry to secure an extension.