The Mariners' pending seven-year, $175MM extension with Felix Hernandez is expected to be finalized before Spring Training, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported earlier today. A source tells Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that the two sides are "still in their final stages" though it seems as if the contract is close to being completed. Though the extension isn't yet official, it has already drawn a lot of reaction from around the baseball world about how it affects Hernandez, the Mariners and other top pitchers' future contracts…
- The agreement will become official if Hernandez passes a physical, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
- Also from Baker's item, he notes that the Mariners can afford to keep Hernandez thanks to an upcoming major boost in broadcast revenue. The M's can opt out of their current TV deal in 2015 or Baker suggests that the club may look to work out a new TV contract sooner in order to avoid marketplace complications if a new NBA or NHL team comes to Seattle.
- In a separate piece, Baker writes that the Mariners will only benefit from Hernandez's extension if they can build a good roster around their ace. As Baker notes, the M's have finished in last place in each of the three seasons since Hernandez signed his last multiyear deal with the team.
- Since the Mariners refused to trade Hernandez, they essentially forced themselves into re-signing Hernandez to a major contract, opines Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Seattle could regret the move if Hernandez struggles in the latter years of the extension "and the Mariners’ choice forever will be weighed against the hypothetical bounty that they could have received for Felix in a trade."
- While the Mariners are taking a risk in making a seven-year commitment to a pitcher, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan likes the deal for both sides. Hernandez's talent and his importance to the franchise made the new contract "something that felt like it had to be done," Sullivan writes.
- Hernandez's extension sets a bar for negotiations between Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who opines that Kershaw could become the first pitcher to receive a $200MM deal. Kershaw is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season and will only be 27 years old on Opening Day 2015.