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Rays announce Kevin Kiermaier contract extension through 2023

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"I'm the happiest man on the planet right now." - Kevin Kiermaier

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays have locked up center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to a long term contract, offering the Rays control of a franchise outfielder through 2023.

Kiermaier previously won the Gold Glove for center field in each of his first two seasons with the club, and according to advanced analytics, has emerged as the best outfield defender in baseball.

With this contract extension, Kiermaier becomes the third Rays star to sign a long term deal, joining Evan Longoria and Chris Archer to create a firm foundation for the team’s future.

Kiermaier’s contract is as follows:

Signing bonus: $1,000,000

2017: $3,000,000

2018: $5,500,000

2019: $8,000,000

2020: $10,000,000

2021: $11,500,000

2022: $12,000,000

2023 option: $13,000,000 ($2,500,000 buyout) with escalators

This contract guarantees $53.5 million over six years, beginning this season, and maxes out at $66.15 million through the seventh year option, buying out up to three years of free agency.

The Rays recently moved Kevin Kiermaier to the No. 2 spot in the batting order and anticipate the speedy center fielder, who received MVP votes in 2015, to continue his development as a star athlete.

Kevin Kiermaier is vital to the Rays success. The entire defense is built around his capabilities, and the pitching is more confident when KK patrols the outfield.

If there was one player this franchise needed to lock up, it was Kevin Kiermaier.