The Tampa Bay Rays and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier have agreed to a six-year extension worth $53.5 million. The Rays held Kevin Kiermaier's control for at least the next four seasons, so the six-year extension gives the team both cost certainty and two extra years of control. For Keirmaier, the deal gives him financial security, which makes it a good deal for both parties.

MLB's best defensive outfielder

Kevin Kiermaier has emerged as one of MLB's top defenders over the last few years. He's won two consecutive gold glove awards, while more advanced defensive stats rate him among the game's top 5 outfielders in almost every measure.

He's been about average as an offensive player about his position, but he's a very good baserunner and would never be caught being lazy. However, he's been a constant fixture on highlight reels for the past few years and has become a fan favorite in Tampa Bay to a great part because of his defensive prowess. If Tim Tebow were actually good at baseball, he'd be Kevin Kiermaier.

Tampa Bay Rays favor these types of extensions

The Tampa Bay Rays have become notorious for signing their young, breakout MLB players to long-term extensions. They first did it with Evan Longoria, who signed a 10-year contract extension before he played a major league game. The reason the team favors these long-term extensions is that they hope the security of a guaranteed contract will give them a sizable discount on the players first few free agent seasons, as this Kevin Kiermaier extension does.

Those first two free agent seasons are often a player's best seasons, so it's a very smart strategy for a team with one of the league's lowest payrolls year in and year out.

The risk that is involved in a long-term extension is that a player's performance could decline, and because all MLB contracts are guaranteed, the team would be forced to pay the player for two more seasons then they likely would have otherwise.

However, a player with Kiermaier's defensive ability is one of the safest players to sign to a long-term extension. Even as he ages, his instincts in the outfield will remain. If he loses some speed, he can move to a corner outfield position with ease and be an elite defender as a right or left fielder.

For now, Tampa Bay Rays fans are simply pleased his highlight reels will continue to be in a Rays uniform.

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