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Mariners give prospect Evan White $24 million, 6-year deal

Evan White #63 of the Seattle Mariners poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium on February 18, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — The Mariners have finalized a $24 million, six-year contract with first baseman Evan White, an unusually large deal for a player who hasn’t appeared in a game above Double-A.

Seattle announced the contract Monday after White completed a physical. The agreement includes options for 2026-28 and likely will cover all the years White would be eligible for salary arbitration.

The 23-year-old was the 17th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft out of Kentucky. From the time he joined the Mariners’ system he’s been regarded as the club’s first baseman of the future because of his excellent defense and a solid bat at the plate.

“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,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “We believe this is the next stage in a long-term investment in our young players, in bringing together young, core players who have a ton of talent and are also high-character people.”

Philadelphia infielder Scott Kingery ($24 million for six years) and Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez ($43 million for six years) agreed in March to lucrative contracts before their big league debuts, but both had played at Triple-A.

Seattle envisions White as a major part of its future core, along with fellow top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, Logan Gilbert, Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield.

White should have a chance to earn the starting job at first base — the Mariners used eight players there last year. Austin Nola and Daniel Vogelbach had the most games at first, but Seattle thinks White is a better defender.

While White’s defense has been highly regarded, his bat isn’t bad, either. He hit .293 with 18 homers and 55 RBIs at Double-A Arkansas last season. White has hit .296 with an .832 OPS in parts of three seasons in the minors.

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