Miami Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez has agreed to the framework of a $70 million, six-year contract to remain with the Marlins, a person familiar with the negotiations said Saturday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal hadn't been completed. It's expected to be announced next weekend when the team returns home from a seven-game trip.
The deal was first reported by SI.com.
In February, the Marlins reached an agreement to build a long-sought, retractable-roof stadium near downtown, which is expected to substantially increase revenue for a franchise with a history of poor attendance and tight budgets.
Florida's 2008 payroll of $22 million is by far the smallest in the major leagues.
"As we get closer to the stadium, those things will change," owner Jeffrey Loria said in March.
Now it's likely Ramirez will still be with the Marlins when they move into the new ballpark in 2011. His deal would be the most lucrative in franchise history, topping the $61 million, six-year contract Gary Sheffield signed in 1997.
Marlins officials had no comment. Ramirez's agent, Andy Mota, didn't return calls seeking comment.
Ramirez's contract would average $11.7 million a year. The Marlins' best-paid player this season is closer Kevin Gregg at $2.5 million.
The 24-year-old Ramirez, who will make $439,000 in 2008, would be eligible for arbitration after this season. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and had a breakout season in 2007, when he hit .332 with 29 home runs, 81 RBIs and 51 stolen bases.