PORT CHARLOTTE â?? The obstacles, biases and long odds Kevin Kiermaier overcame in rising from 31st-round draft pick to the reward of a six-year, $53.5-million deal will be forever considered a testament to hard work, determination and drive.
And now the Rays centerfielder extraordinaire is really ready to show you something.
“I still want to leave my legacy on the game, and I’m going to prove that with this contract,” Kiermaier said Monday, during formal announcement of the deal, fittingly on the deck overlooking centerfield at the Charlotte Sports Park. “I’m not going to change my work ethic or anything like that. I’m still so hungry. I want to be great in this game, and play for as long as possible.”
As dazzlingly impressive as Kiermaier, 27 in April, has been defensively in winning the first two of many Gold Gloves, as much promise as he has shown of becoming a disruptive offensive force with his combination of power and speed, as popular as he has become among their fans, the Rays don’t make this size of an investment â?? worth potentially $66.15-million with incentives and a 2023 option â?? just on (considerable) good looks and talent.
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