Rios' $69.8M deal finalized; Jays also agree to four-year deal with Hill
TORONTO -- Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios finalized a new seven-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays that guarantees him $69,835,000, and second baseman Aaron Hill agreed to a $12 million, four-year deal.
Toronto announced the agreements before its home opener against the Boston Red Sox.
General manager J.P. Ricciardi said keeping the homegrown stars was important to his team's "family atmosphere."
"We've got a nice buzz around this team, a nice buzz in the clubhouse," Ricciardi said.
Rios avoided salary arbitration Feb. 5 by agreeing to a $4,835,000, one-year contract that included a $3.5 million signing bonus paid March 1 and a salary of $1,335,000.
The new deal lowers his salary this year to $735,000, redistributes $600,000 until later years and adds $65 million in new guaranteed money.
Rios gets $5.9 million in 2009, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million apiece in 2013 and 2014.
Toronto has a $13.5 million team option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout. He has a complete no-trade provision for 2009 and 2010, and a limited no-trade after that in which he can block trades without his consent to six teams.
Hill had agreed to a $410,000, one-year contract last month. The new deal adds salaries of $2.59 million for 2009, $4 million for 2010 and $5 million for 2011.
Toronto has options of $8 million each for 2012 and 2013, and $10 million for 2014. The Blue Jays may exercise all three options if they decide prior to the 2011 season. If they wait until after the 2011 season, they can exercise only the first two years.
The 26-year-old Rios batted .297 and set career highs with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs last year, when he earned $2,535,000. Hill set career bests with 17 home runs, 78 RBIs and 47 doubles in 2007.
Rios' contract is the second-richest in club history, behind only the $126 million, seven-year extension signed by outfielder Vernon Wells in 2006, an agreement that also runs through 2014.
"It's great that we got it done," Rios said. "I still can't believe it. I never thought I was going to be making so much money."
A two-time All-Star, Rios was Toronto's first-round pick in the June 1999 draft. He broke into the majors in 2004.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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