Yesterday, the Seattle Mariners finally announced the Felix Hernandez seven-year, $175 million contract extension, essentially making Felix a member of the Mariners for the rest of his career.
You could argue the Mariners are making a mistake in locking up this pitcher, any pitcher, for this long and this incredible amount of money. You could also argue, convincingly, that you have no soul and hate fun.
Watching Felix get choked up, rambling and promising not to disappoint anyone and vowing to make the playoffs, shouting out the people in the King’s Court and everyone in the organization, expressing his love for Seattle and how he never wants to play anywhere else, it’s a beautiful thing. The scattershot, joyful nature seems overwhelming sincere and straight from the heart.
This is a man who signed with the Mariners when he was just 16-years old, making his big league debut at 19 and dominating from the get go. Now he’s the richest pitcher in baseball history, remaining with the same team for more than half his life by the time the contract ends.
Felix yearly salaries: $19M, $22M, $24M, $25M, $26M, $26M, $27M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 14, 2013
Jack Zduriencik mentioned crossing all the Is and dotting all the Ts, a nod to the precautions taken with Felix’s right elbow. The Mariners added some language and a $1MM option that actually adds a year to the deal should Felix spend more than 130 days on the disabled list due to a procedure on his right elbow over the life of contract. Meaning if Felix misses what amounts to a year – for Tommy John for whatever reason – he will pitch an extra year in Seattle for “just” one million dollars.
Back when Joe Mauer signed his massive deal to remain with the Twins for the better part of his lifetime, many rolled out the “this is great for baseball” trope. I don’t know if this is a great deal for baseball.
I do know Felix’s deal is great for Felix Hernandez. Tremendous for Felix in just about every way. At the very least it is “good” for the Seattle Mariners, who keep a man who clearly means more to them than whatever pupu platter the Yankees or Red Sox or whoever could put together. The is little chance they can develop or sign another pitcher of Felix’s equal, so why not just hang on to the one they have?
This deal is good for people who want sports to be more than wins and losses and pennants, people who really like good things to happen to good people.
This header image on this post was captured as Felix stepped off the elevator to begin his press conference with Jack Z. Those are not fans of the Seattle Mariners, they are the staffers who sell tickets, market the team and do the payroll. Felix Hernandez has been part of their lives since he was 19, too.
Maybe another 100 loss season will replace the warm and fuzzies going around Mariners offices right now. Maybe 30 year old Felix gains weight and alienates everybody and turns into Bartolo Colon. Maybe that happens and we look back wondering what became of all the goodwill?
Until then, enjoy today, Mariners fans. Enjoy the knowledge that, as the wise man says, Felix is yours and nobody else can have him.
And the rest
Sometimes fans think they have the face of the franchise guy who will sign an extension and never leave and mean everything to a moribund franchise only to see him traded and then swearing he never wants to return. Sometimes that happens and, believe me, it sucks. [DJF]
Sometimes a new guy comes and he is awesome and wears Star Wars t-shirts to Spring Training and he helps you forget that dumb Mormon robot who you never liked anyway. [Dickey the Best, sez New York Times]
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) February 13, 2013
Timmy and Buster played catch and they made nice and the fastball stayed down, film at eleven! [SF Chron]
Will chemistry be an issue for the Dodgers? Should of signed Mark Derosa, chumps. Because you know what’s better than a 25 man active roster? A TWENTY-FOUR MAN active roster. *mic drop* [L.A. Times]
More chemistry issues! Who will replace Chris Carpenter as the clubhouse bossman in St. Louis? Such is the Cardinals lot in life that this serves as a legitimate spring concern. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
The Red Sox Blueprint for success. No snickering. [WEEI]
The Marlins don’t want Henderson Alvarez to pitch in the WBC. I think Venezuela is just too polite to say anything