Welp. The Seattle Mariners are really going all in on this whole “keep Felix in Seattle forever” thing as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Mariners and their King are on the verge of announcing a seven-year, $175 million contract extension, though nothing is official quite yet.

The reported deal makes Felix Hernandez one of the highest paid players on an annual average income basis as well as the life of his deal.


This is one of the largest contracts in baseball history. It ranks as the largest contract in Mariners history and the largest contract for a pitcher, again, in history. How many pitchers deserve more than Felix Hernandez? His age and the timing of his previous extension made him a prime candidate to cash in like this, even if seven years for any pitcher seems scary on the surface.

The Mariners as a team might be limbo but Felix is the face of their franchise now and forever. Better yet – he can become a free agent at the age of 33 when this contract lapses. Another payday, this one seven years in the future!

According to Nightengale, the contract would take effect immediately, replacing the final two years of his deal in which Felix was scheduled to earn a shade under $40MM. Now, Felix will earn $25 per year until 2020, slightly more than the $24.5MM Zack Grienke netted as a free agent.

Put simply: Felix is one of the five best pitchers in the game and has been for some time. He makes 34 starts a year and pretty much rules. His K/9 has increased every year since 2007, though his K% stays largely the same. Felix loves Seattle and Seattle loves Felix. What’s the downside here?

Oh, right. The Mariners are sort of awful and they just committed HUGE DOLLARS to a pitcher, with all the risk falling squarely on the team. While the farm system might rank as one of the best in the game, the current on-field talent is underwhelming or bewildering, depending on your perspective. How much can the Mariners expect that to change in the next three or four years while Felix remains in his prime?

As the current Toronto Blue Jays roster shows, you can do a lot to improve your big league club when your minor league pipeline is robust and well-regarded. They nearly acquired Justin Upton, only the current Braves’ prerogative kept him from joining the M’s. The trades are out there if Jack Z wants to force the issue, or he can wait and see which of his highly regarded arms develops within Safeco’s welcoming arms.

Felix Hernandez is where the Mariners have planted their flag pole. Felix will be on the next good Mariners team, should such a beast ever exist. As Dave Cameron says at U.S.S. Mariner, a significant percentage of the Mariners payroll is now devoted to the King – if they want to compete, that total number needs to go up, up up.

Trading Felix might have been the best option for the immediate health of the franchise but was that ever a realistic option? The King reigns over his kingdom for the next seven years. Turkey drumsticks for everyone!

Comments (25)

  1. Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn… Good for him.

  2. Greinke, at 29, just got 6/147m as a FA.

    Hernandez just got 5/135m for his age 29 season and beyond.

    I can’t fathom why the Mariners would do this deal today. It transferred all the risk from the player to the team, and they didn’t get nearly enough of a discount to commit 5 additional years to an ace already under team control for 2 more. Sure, it’s going to be labelled as a boon that Seattle could keep its marquee talent, but so was Vernon Wells’ extension.

    I’m glad AA would never even think of doing something so ridiculous.

    • Well, for one thing, Felix is actually a marquee guy, and actually worth keeping around (re: Vernon Wells). For another, I’d much rather have Felix at 5/135 than Greinke at 6/147 (which is misleading due to the 2015 opt-out – if the deal is working out for the Dodgers, chances are they’re going to have to pony up even more money if they want to keep him). They’d do it now because if he stayed on this trajectory, considering inflation, the fact that multiple teams (probably including the Yankees after the luxury tax whateverthefuck was reset) would be bidding on him, and the fact that he’s a better pitcher than Greinke in most aspects, he probably would have blown that deal out of the water come 2015. Of course all pitchers are one injury away, but if I had to bet on anyone, it would be a guy who has averaged 32 starts over his first full seven seasons and never made less than 30

  3. I would do it, how much they make of selling his swag?

  4. Good on Felix for capitalizing on the Mariners and their pursuit of the most unintelligibly directionless offseason in the history of the game.

  5. And the rays wouldn’t be able to resign price

  6. I feel sick… that’s alot of cash remind me why I didn’t like baseball as a kid.

  7. Invest heavy cashwise on their stud pitcher.

    And give him a defense with 5 DHs behind him

    No more CYs for King Felix

  8. Don’t forget this is really a 2 for 1 deal as they retain Larry Bernandez too.

  9. Doesn’t Jack Z realize that his trade value is lowered now??? The Yankees or Red Sox are clearly going to give up less now when they trade him at the deadline

  10. This is great news. Now he can stop trying so hard.

  11. Could it be considered that this deal is essentially being paid for by the the huge TV contract that is seeing EVERY team get around 25m per year?

    • In 2 years, with dodgerflation spiraling premiere free agent salaries beyond the reach of mid market teams, could this salary seem reasonable in comparison? Methinks there is at least a possibility that this may be the case for a too 5 pitching talent in his prime years.

  12. Seven Astronauts and every Astro!

  13. He’s got a lot of concubines to choose from, or should I say a lot of catchers.

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