After one season in the majors, Young gets $28 million deal from D-backs

Updated: April 8, 2008, 8:28 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Chris Young rose from a 16th-round draft pick as a teenager in 2001 to a dynamic player who received a $28 million, five-year contract extension after just one full season in the majors.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced the deal with the 24-year-old center fielder before Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Young, who is earning $406,000 this year, will receive a $1 million signing bonus. He gets salaries of $1.75 million in 2009, $3.25 million in 2010, $5 million in 2011, $7 million in 2012 and $8.5 million in 2013.

Arizona has an $11 million option for 2014 with a $1.5 million buyout.

"This was a no-brainer for us, really," manager Bob Melvin said, "looking at the numbers and looking how much better he can get, how he handles himself and the example he sets for some of the younger guys coming up."

Young chose security in an organization he likes rather than waiting to possibly make more money later.

"There's not a lot of guys who can get the opportunity to be offered such a great deal after playing only one year," he said at a news conference. "I'm extremely grateful."

The contract shows how much the Diamondbacks covet the speedy, hard-hitting outfielder, who came to club as part of the trade that sent pitcher Javier Vazquez to the Chicago White Sox in December 2005.

"He's an unbelievably talented player," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said, "but we wouldn't have done a contract like this unless we believed in the person. Getting to know 'C.Y.' the last few years, he's smart, he's determined, he's genuine. He's a great person to have around a team as we try to win championships."

Young, drafted late by the White Sox out Bellaire High School in Houston, said that humble beginning served as motivation in his rise to the majors.

"You don't take it for granted," Young said. "Hopefully I can play another 15 years in this game, at least. I'm excited to get this mission going, but like I said, it's just the beginning."

Last season, Young became the first rookie in major league history to have at least 30 home runs -- he had 32 -- and 25 stolen bases -- he had 27.

Mostly batting leadoff, he also established rookie franchise highs in runs (85), steals (27), doubles (29), slugging percentage (.467) and extra-base hits (64).

Young's nine leadoff homers led the majors. His batting average, though, was just .237, a figure that Melvin expects to rise considerably this year.

Young is off to a good start.

Entering Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers, Young shared the NL home-run lead with teammate Mark Reynolds at four. Young's nine runs scored led the NL and he was tied for the lead in walks with eight, an indication of his improved patience at the plate. Young walked only 43 times and had 141 strikeouts last season.

Young was hitting .259 through seven games with a .429 on-base percentage. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in Arizona's 9-3 victory over the Dodgers on Monday night. He has two stolen bases and five RBIs in the young season.

Young's father Robert Young sat at the podium with his son.

"It goes without saying how proud I am of him," the elder Young said, "especially when I know how hard he's worked to get to this point."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press