Mariners May Lock Up Several Players

I noticed a John Hickey article from three days ago that hasn’t been mentioned here at MLBTR.  Hickey notes that the Mariners like to sign players to extensions during spring if possible.  He assesses the chances of extensions for Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Kenji Johjima, Raul Ibanez, and Richie Sexson in the article.

Johjima, Ibanez, and Sexson are all set to reach free agency after the ’08 season.  Johjima seems the most likely to stay, though prospect Jeff Clement may be close to big league ready.  Sexson is as good as gone, while the decision on Ibanez will likely hinge on ’08.  I’m not sure how Jose Vidro‘s vesting option for ’09 works; Ibanez may be best served filling his DH spot.

Hickey expects to see Felix locked up before the season begins.  A deal would buy out his three arbitration years (2009-11), at least.  The Ms could also incorporate the ’08 season into the contract.  The Angels bought out John Lackey‘s three arb years for $17MM, but that was two years ago.  Chris Young‘s deal covered his final four years of team control for $14.5MM; that was signed a year ago.  Matt Cain‘s contract may also be a comparable.

Hickey does see Bedard getting an extension; he can become a free agent after the ’09 season.  Bedard recently signed at $7MM for ’08.  His deal could be massive, in the $18-19MM per year range.

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