Mariners Insider Blog

Report: Felix Hernandez and Mariners agree to monster contract extension

Well then, there's some interesting,exciting news for Mariners fans.

From Bob's story ...

Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract that should be finalized before spring training, making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, a person familiar with the contract details told USA TODAY Sports.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the contract is not yet official.

Hernandez was scheduled to earn $19.5 million in 2013 and $20 million in '14. Instead, his new contract will take effect this season and pay him a record average annual value of $25 million through 2019.A source within the organization said the deal isn't official, but didn't deny it's being negotiated. My guess is that it could be announced as soon as tomorrow. But really with all the details that needed to be configured and the extensive physical that Hernandez will have to go, I'm leaning more toward Saturday. If not then, then next week  since most of the Mariners staff is heading to Peoria on Sunday to prepare for spring training.

This would make Hernandez the highest paid pitcher in major league baseball history.

Usually, you have to be a little wary of giving a pitcher that long of a contract. But really, the Mariners could not afford to lose Felix to another team via trade or free agency. If that happened, the Mariners would lose all credibility as a franchise.

By doing this, it signals a commitment to Hernandez going forward. And it also signals to fans, that the Mariners are done letting their best players - Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez - to other teams. With attendance falling and more fans disinterested in the team or disappointed in ownership, this is a move that needed to be made. If they were forced to trade Hernandez or he walked in free agency, there is no telling how far the perception toward the team would have fallen.

Of course now, they also need to build up the team around Hernandez. They need to continue to draft smartly and also supplement the payroll. Hernandez's yearly salary of around $25 million is right now just more than 1/4 of the payroll supposedly budgeted. They will need to add that budget to continue add talent to the organization and find success on the field.

As for Hernandez, this decision signals his loyalty to the organization that found him and nurtured him into the pitcher he is today. And while the money is gargantuan, this decision shows that Hernandez has a belief that this organization is headed in the right direction. He wouldn't decided to stay here if he felt that he couldn't ultimately win here.