By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins have locked up their leadoff hitter, agreeing to terms with center fielder Denard Span on a five-year, $16.5 million contract extension.
The deal, which was announced Saturday, also includes a $9 million club option for the 2015 season with a $500,000 buyout.
Span is set to make $750,000 this season. He’ll make $1 million in 2011, $3 million in ’12, $4.75 million in ’13, and $6.5 million in ’14.
Last season, Span emerged as one of the top leadoff hitters in the league, batting .311 with a .392 on-base percentage and 68 RBIs in 145 games for the Twins. While he roamed all three outfield spots in 2009 for Minnesota, he will be the club’s permanent center fielder this season after Carlos Gomez was traded to Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Span was Minnesota’s first-round draft pick in 2002.