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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