|OF Alex Rios and Toronto Blue Jays close in on big deal|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 26 March 2008 11:30|
The deal might include a 2015 option that could make it worth about $80 million.
It would be the second-richest contract in club history behind the $126 million, seven-year deal signed by center fielder Vernon Wells in 2006.
The 26-year-old Rios batted .297 and set career highs with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs last season, when he earned $2,535,000. The right fielder avoided salary arbitration Feb. 5 by agreeing to a $4,835,000, one-year contract.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. Ricciardi has said he won't continue to negotiate with Rios once the regular season begins.
Team president Paul Godfrey has said the Blue Jays are intent on reaching a long-term deal with Rios.
A two-time All-Star, Rios was Toronto's first-round pick in the June 1999 draft. He broke into the majors in 2004.
The Blue Jays are also working on an extension for infielder Aaron Hill, who set career highs with 17 home runs, 78 RBIs and 47 doubles in 2007.