Mariners Sign Felix Hernandez To Five-Year Deal

All the teams that had begun salivating over Felix Hernandez's upcoming free agency will have to wait a little longer than expected. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik officially locked Hernandez up to a five-year $78MM deal that delays the right-hander's entrance onto the open market by three years. 

The contract buys out Hernandez's two remaining years of arbitration plus three years of free agency at an average annual salary of $15.6MM. FanGraphs says Felix's performance was worth exactly double that in 2009, and has been worth at least as much every year since 2007. Nearly $80MM isn't bad for a 23-year-old pitcher, and the Mariners are securing one of the game's best arms.

This past season was nothing short of brilliant for Hernandez, who posted a 2.49 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 238.2 IP. That performance led to his first All-Star game selection and a second-place finish in the American League Cy Young balloting.

The incentive-laden deal includes a $3.5MM signing bonus and has a limited no-trade clause. Felix makes $1MM if he wins a Cy Young, $500K if he finishes second, and $250K if he finishes in third.

Earlier in the week we heard that Felix and the Mariners were working towards a five or six-year deal. As expected, Hernandez will earn considerably more than Josh Johnson, whose new deal calls for $13.75MM paydays in each of his first two free agent years

It has been a busy offseason for Seattle and GM Jack Zduriencik; the club has added stars like Cliff Lee, Milton Bradley, and Chone Figgins.

ESPN.com's Keith Law first reported the agreement and Francisco Blavia of Lider en Deportes tweeted the terms. Jon Heyman of SI.com, Coley Ward and Buster Olney of ESPN.com added details.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.


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125 Comments on "Mariners Sign Felix Hernandez To Five-Year Deal"


5 years 7 months ago

This should be interesting, I’d assume it would be around 3 or 4 years @ roughly 12 mil a year. That’s what I’d ballpark it at. Regardless of the number, congrats to the Mariners, their GM is really working hard.

5 years 7 months ago

58 career wins at age 23 is very impressive, too.

$1529282
5 years 7 months ago

3/36 or 4/48? I’d guess significantly more in terms of both years and dollars.

5 years 7 months ago

I would be shocked at 4/48. Considering his age and performance I think most M’s fans thought 6/100 to be a pretty fair contract.

5 years 7 months ago

I don’t care if it’s Monday night. I’m getting drunk immediately.

Next up: Cliff Lee?

willardthegreat
5 years 7 months ago

I hope so, but the likelihood of signing both long term isn’t great… Mainly because you have to consider having 30+ million tied up in two players…per season. But it’s nice to daydream about!!!

$1529282
5 years 7 months ago

Good for the Mariners. It’s a damn good time to be a Seattle fan these days.

Sampsonite168
5 years 7 months ago

I could see 4 years/$50M.

5 years 7 months ago

After searching a bit, I’m seeing that it should be closer to 15 mil a year, and some reports say he’ll get near/at a 100 mil contract in total.

dire straits
5 years 7 months ago

Thanks, Rosenthal.

vtadave
5 years 7 months ago

Now if only the Mariners actually had a power hitter and a couple more decent relievers.

marinersarmy
5 years 7 months ago

Relievers? Seriously?

vtadave
5 years 7 months ago

Yeah seriously. You want Jason Vargas and Garrett Olson as the lefties there? Brandon League certainly helps and I like Shawn Kelley, but another arm or two certainly wouldn’t hurt would it?

marinersarmy
5 years 7 months ago

Nothing wrong with Vargas, plus I don’t think there’s much else out there for lefty relievers (spend the $$$ elsewhere). They went almost the whole season last year without a lefty reliever and it went well. As for the rest of their bullpen (Aardsma, Lowe, League, Kelley, possibly White and Corcoran), they’re pretty deep as it is.

seapilot69
5 years 7 months ago

Mariners had the lowest ERA in the American League last year. They need to lock up Cliff Lee and add a power hitter more than they need more relievers.

FrodoNYY
5 years 7 months ago

Wow. Awesome job by the GM. Cant wait to see the figures.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 7 months ago

I didn’t know Frodo passed through NY to get to Mount Doom..

Infield Fly
5 years 7 months ago

Well, you know…the Bronx…Mordor…kind of an analogy, I guess.

$1529282
5 years 7 months ago

4/48… 4/50… man, these are some lowball offers for Felix in terms of years. He’d be in line for a mammoth contract and has far more success to his credit already than names like Greinke or Johnson when they got their extensions of 4 years and roughly $9MM per.

I’d think 6/90 is a better guess for the low-end. They’ve been working toward a much larger than three- or four-year deal.

Ian_Smell
5 years 7 months ago

Felix could be one of the richest players ever. Even if this deal is huge, he could sign an even bigger one after this one’s over, and he’ll only be around 28-30.

Guest
5 years 7 months ago

The Mariners, the most improved team in baseball!

bjsguess
5 years 7 months ago

Really?

How does this improve the team?

BaseballFan0707
5 years 7 months ago

Because they keep an ace for years to come.

It’s not an improvement until the contract enters years where he would have been a FA otherwise.

Guest
5 years 7 months ago

First of all, I was speaking about the team in general, but of course the re-signing is huge. I am not even a Mariner fan, but realize just how MUCH the team as a whole has improved. Including holding onto their ace, one of the better pitchers in BB with lots of room to improve.

I thought my comment was pretty clear, “The mariners, the most improved team in baseball!”

Not that hard to comprehend.

Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Uhh…Chone Figgins? Cliff Lee? Jack Wilson? Bradley?

vtadave
5 years 7 months ago

I believe the poster was referring to how Felix Hernandez was already on the roster.

tjspring
5 years 7 months ago

It is an absolute and tangible improvement for 2010 in that come trading deadline, there is absolutely no doubt that Felix is off the table. Whether the Ms are in it, or out of it, their focus can be to improve at the deadline either for a playoff run, or for future improvement by trading guys in a contract year like Lee/ Lopez, rather than struggle with Hernandez the way the Jays did with the Roy Halladay situation of last year.

Not to mention the future security of knowing that your rotation is anchored by one of to game’s top five for at least the next 5 years. If one doesn’t see this as an improvement, they are clearly a bitter A’s fan.

5 years 7 months ago

OK, final guess 5yr/80mil, or 6yr/100mil

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 7 months ago

It may be fair to say Felix may be signed to a contract beyond 5 years so the M’s can get a bit of a discount. Rather than 3 years and $60-million, perhaps it’s similar to 6 years, $90-million?

5 years 7 months ago

sweet

5 years 7 months ago

The perfect ending to this three day weekend. Seriously, I may cry.

Rrwrayiii
5 years 7 months ago

Anything less than $100M at 6 years would be a huge letdown by his agents. This kid is flat out awesome. And for most Mariners fans, if we get him at 6 years, $100M, I think there would be a huge party in the streets. In Felix We Trust!

Eric
5 years 7 months ago

Zduriencik is a smart GM. I’m thinking this deal is in the neighborhood of 4YR/60M. It minimizes the risk of paying an injured pitcher and it gives Hernandez a chance to hit Free Agency in his prime.

Steakface
5 years 7 months ago

My new favorite AL Team. Jumping on the bandwagon since Chone was signed.

cubfanraysaddictt
5 years 7 months ago

great job Mariners, imagine if every team had people like Z, Friedman, and Theo running them, I can’t wait to see how Seattle does this year.

Hennepin_Gold
5 years 7 months ago

Nice move, but I don’t think the M’s are playoff contenders just yet. Defense and front end of the rotation are top notch, but pitching depth and hitting are still lacking.

rodney654
5 years 7 months ago

They will add another mid rotation guy.

Their top three bats are real nice with Ichiro-Figgins-Bradley. Lopez and Gutierrez aren’t awful either.

5 years 7 months ago

really? You have Ichiro get a double or single steal second Figgins gets a single scoring ichiro, they are like the twins they manufacture runs. They have the best staff in the west, in the top five for the mlb. Easily a playoff team.

bjsguess
5 years 7 months ago

Wow.

Best rotation? Once you get past Hernandez and Lee you have a bunch of question marks. Could they good? Sure. Are they the best – not IMO.

And to use the Twins analogy – they happen to have a few guys on the squad that don’t really match up with what the M’s have. Still struggling to find the M’s equivalent of Mauer, Morneau or Cuddyer.

$1529282
5 years 7 months ago

Add Kubel to that list as well.

The Twins don’t “manufacture runs” that much anymore. We nearly had four 30-HR bats last season. That’s more than they had over almost a 20-year span at one point.

Faceplant_04
5 years 7 months ago

Still trying to find the Twins equivalent of Hernandez or Lee. Not to mention when you take into account ballpark, defense, and position into account Ichiro Suzuki, and Franklin Gutierrez are better than Morneau and Cuddyer.

$1529282
5 years 7 months ago

No one compared their rotations. Bj was saying the Mariners will have a vastly different offense than the Twins. And he’s right.

No one even compared the two against each other questioning who’s better.

But by all means, completely miss the point of the post.

Faceplant_04
5 years 7 months ago

Well, it was in response to someone saying why they thought the M’s were not a contender. If he was trying to just directly compare positions players, then I apologize, but that was FAR from clear.

JB3
5 years 7 months ago

He said best rotation in the AL West, not baseball. I think the staff depth is almost comparable to the Angels (a little worse) but the M’s have possibly the best 1-2 punch in baseball. I still like the Red Sox for the best rotation in baseball with Lester/Beckett/Lackey/Dice-K/Buchholz and then Wakefield as a #6 guy.

BentoBox
5 years 7 months ago

I agree with your point; Angels still have the depth and the A’s might have the chance to match up with the rotation overall. Still though, awesome 1-2 punch.

willardthegreat
5 years 7 months ago

Actually, once you get past Felix, Lee and RRS you have question marks. Plus, we’re still looking for an arm (sheets/bedard level). Once that happens our rotation looks like Felix, Lee, Bedard/Sheets/Whoever, RRS and Snell. Not bad; certainly top 5 in the game. And our bullpen is very, very good.

eric47d
5 years 7 months ago

I’d agree that the M’s could use another big bat or two, but to say they lack pitching depth is a pretty ignorant comment. Check your American League team ERA leaders for last year. Not only were they #1, the dropoff between #1 and #3 (Oakland) is huge.

Faceplant_04
5 years 7 months ago

I’m too lazy to check right now, but if I’m not mistaken the M’s had the best run prevention in the league last year. And they should have a better defense AND pitching staff this year.

jamesbrycen
5 years 7 months ago

Always nice to see teams keep their best players. Good for baseball.