While USA Today and ESPN have both reported that Felix Hernandez has signed a new contract with the Seattle Mariners for $175 million dollars for a seven-year deal, the Mariners organization has made no official release of this announcement. This is the third report of contract extension negotiations between King Felix and the Mariners to occur since December. The previous two were reported by the MLB network, stating that the Mariners wanted to make the star pitcher a Mariner for life, and Bleacher Report who announced that Hernandez and the Mariners were in negotiations. The Mariners stated that they had no such discussion.
Before we all start celebrating and discussing the historic nature of this large contract, we should ask whether the report is, in fact, true. Greg Johns, like myself, does not believe that an anonymous “person familiar with the contract details” is strong enough to lead me to count my chickens before they hatch. While I would celebrate as much as everyone else would should Hernandez sign the contract, it’s such a large and historic deal, I think that we are best served by making sure the announcement is official before we all start toasting with our beer steins.
If the USA Today report by Bob Nightengale is accurate, the contract will be finalized prior to Spring Training. Hernandez will receive $25 million a year on average rather than the original $19 million and $20 million he is contracted to receive in 2012 and 2013. That makes some of the highly lucrative deals we’ve seen this offseason seem small in comparison. He would also be the highest paid pitcher in MLB history.
If you’re concerned about the length of the reported contract, consider that Hernandez is only 26 at the moment. When the contract expires, he will be 33, still pretty young by Mariners standards.
What do you think? Are the reports legitimate? There have been so many different rumor reports about contract extensions with Hernandez over the past few months, that I’m waiting for the official announcement before celebrating. When or if it comes through, I think we should all virtually toast one another on the retention of the 2012 Cy Young Award finalist (he was fourth in the voting).