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.
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.
58 career wins at age 23 is very impressive, too.
3/36 or 4/48? I’d guess significantly more in terms of both years and dollars.
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.
I don’t care if it’s Monday night. I’m getting drunk immediately.
Next up: Cliff Lee?
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!!!
Good for the Mariners. It’s a damn good time to be a Seattle fan these days.
I could see 4 years/$50M.
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.
Now if only the Mariners actually had a power hitter and a couple more decent relievers.
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?
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.
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.
Wow. Awesome job by the GM. Cant wait to see the figures.
I didn’t know Frodo passed through NY to get to Mount Doom..
Well, you know…the Bronx…Mordor…kind of an analogy, I guess.
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.
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.
The Mariners, the most improved team in baseball!
How does this improve the team?
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.
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.
Uhh…Chone Figgins? Cliff Lee? Jack Wilson? Bradley?
I believe the poster was referring to how Felix Hernandez was already on the roster.
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.
OK, final guess 5yr/80mil, or 6yr/100mil
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?
The perfect ending to this three day weekend. Seriously, I may cry.
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!
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.
My new favorite AL Team. Jumping on the bandwagon since Chone was signed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Always nice to see teams keep their best players. Good for baseball.
Exactly even with two ace’s at the top of their rotation and an elite defense I just can’t see them scratching out enough runs with what they currently have on offense. I really like they way their team is starting to take shape but when Jose Lopez is your biggest power threat your offense can use some work.
You dont need power to score enough runs.
They have three elite OBP guys at the top of their order.
Then they have Lopez who supplies decent power. Gutierrez and Kotchman are .340 type OBP guys.
They wont have a great offense, but it won’t be as dismal as many are making it out to be
Maybe they are trying to play small ball? Strong defense and great pitching is perfect for small ball. Sounds pretty interesting if it is.
Production is production, whether it comes from power or not.
I wonder if Lincecum will hold off contract talks until after this is announced.
A 4-year deal just doesn’t make sense for Felix. It delays free agency for 2 years, and it doesn’t give him the mega bucks that will give him financial security long-term (that may sound crazy, but we’re talking about 40MM$ or so here).
I’m betting that a 6-year deal is in the cards, right around 85-90MM$
Yes yes yes YES!!!
Bout time Mariners!
Just heard it was 6 years $92M
Good job with this one, I wonder yrs/M?
You have a pretty killer 1-2-3. Felix, lee, Snell.
I remember when snell was on the pirates he looked good.
Snell is anything but a #3 starter at this point. The guy’s been flat-out garbage for the past two seasons.
Agreed. For whatever reason people seem to associate Snell with his 07. That would be the only season in his entire career where the guy was decent. Maybe as a #5 he isn’t horrible but expecting him to be a big contributor would be wishful thinking.
Yeah, the love for Snell is a bit…misplaced.The M’s have a nearly unbeatable 1-2 punch, and I’m aware that they had the best ERA in baseball last year, but Washburn was pitching over his head while with the M’s. They need another reliable starter to emerge.However, with how much weaker the Angels are right now (who knows what will happen as the season plays out), I can’t fault anyone for trusting more in the M’s to win that division.
Everyone seems to grasp at straws and think that players can resume their former success. In reality, Snell’s no different from a guy like Rich Hill at this point. Snell just got the multi-year deal that Hill never did before he collapsed.
Sure he clearly has enough talent to be successful to a certain extent in the big leagues. But one good season doesn’t mean this guy can be counted on.
Snell finished the year 5-1 and dropped his ERA a full point. I’d take him as a #4 or #5! We need to acquire a #3 as to move Snell back a spot though. JZ, get it done!!!
I think Felix saw what Halladay got and decided to jump on the bandwagon in this economy. Yanks & BoSox would of opened up their purses for whatever it took (CC money) to land him though.
Good to hear. 6/100 sounds good. Anybody know anything about the Quintella guy the mariners are supposedly going to sign? a felix in the making… haha I can only have high optimism at this point in the game.
He has a stellar throwing pose (according to his pictures… ) and he throws 88.89mph on average. Other teams who were looking at him were the Yankees, Braves, and Pirates.
haha yeah he looks like captain america according to his pictures. That should be entertaining to watch at the very least.
I’m just not sure how people can come in and say great signing without knowing the dollars. Here are the facts:
— This move doesn’t improve the M’s in 2010. Felix was already under contract for 2 more years.
— We don’t know what the dollars are like. This could be a GREAT signing. It could also be awful. Most likely – it’s somewhere in between. A 6/100 type deal would fall into the “somewhere in between” category.
— The M’s continue to be impressive. Hard to fault them for going hard this off-season. They have made several smart moves that help immediately but also haven’t hamstrung the club in the long-term either. I don’t think they will be a playoff team in 2010 but I do think they are set-up well for the near future. They need a big bat in the middle of the lineup and at least one more good starter to win the AL West.
Felix is conservatively a 5 to 6 win player next season. Even accounting for injury risk, 6/100 million is a decent bargain.
Yes, agreed. Not too sure Lopez/Bradley are enough offense to a team with low run production.
Does this mean it’ll be tougher for the M’s sign Lee past 2010?
Figgins will be replacing last years injury riddled Adrian Beltre, the Langerhans/Bradley/Saunders combination should easily be able to provide more production in LF than the M’s got last season, and Jack Wilson is a better hitter than Yuniesky Betancourt.
Furthermore, the M’s run prevention has improved even over what it was last year. With a full season of Jack Wilson, the addition of Casey Kotchman, and Cliff Lee this M’s team is going to be ridiculously hard to score on.
But, at the same time, don’t have a great offense to go with it. They have a good one, but it isn’t great. If they could add a 30HR guy, they would be a scary good team.
They’ll definitely compete, though, because of the weakening of the Angels. Don’t forget about the Rangers, also.
All you have to do is outscore your opponents. How you do it really is irrelevant.
And weren’t the M’s the worst at doing this last year? How have they improved their runs scored potential by adding a OBP guy and eliminating an RBI guy?
No offense, but that is a dumb argument (seriously, no offense intended).
RBIs are a result of chance and having good OB guys. In short the ability to drive in runs is not a skill. It is the product of being a good hitter and having a ton of guys on base in front of you. Being able to get on base on the other hand is a measurable skill. In the end, if you put a bunch of guys on base in front of even a league average hitter he will rack up the RBIs. Eg, bat Casey Kotchman 3rd behind Ichiro and Figgins the guy would drive in 100. All while hitting about 10 HRs.
Just compare the on base abilities of this years team to the 2009 team and you will see how much better they actually are. That with an improved starting 5, the same bullpen + Brandon League, a better overall offense and believer it or not, a better defense and this team could very well win 100 games. … Without even having a 25 HR bat.
Couting RBI’s is a silly way to measure production. RBI’s are heavily dependent on those playing around you. There is actually a very strong corellation between OBP and run scoring. The M’s have improved offensively over last year at SS, 3rd base, LF, and DH, while simultaineously improving defensively at first base, and SS, on top of adding a Cy Young caliber pitcher.
Is the offense particularly good? Not really. I’d wager they will be about average next year, to maybe slightly below. But when you prevent runs like the M’s should, that might be all you need from your offense.
Cliff Lee wanted to test the FA market when he was with the Phillies.I know I’ve spoken well for the M’s in this thread, but if he wasn’t willing to sign an extension with a World Series level team, why would he sign an extension with the M’s? They have improved, yes. But they aren’t on the same level as his previous team.
That just isn’t true. Lee made it pretty clear he wanted to re-sign with the Phillies.
That isn’t true. Lee made it well known after the trade that he wanted to resign with Philly.
Terrific signing. Perhaps the best this decade.
Wait, so the M’s aren’t going to trade him to Boston for Bowden, Delcarmen and a used syringe from the 2004 team?
What is this world coming to when teams like the M’s and Marlins start locking up their young stars and don’t just hand them to Theo because he’s so dreamy and can play guitar?
Great job by the M’s here. This GM is impressing me a ton. He’s aggressively going after that division. It’s a great city and beautiful ball park and they deserve a great team.
I still think they are a bat short for the season, but I like the way they are running the franchise.
Locking Felix up is a no brainer and it makes me happy that the Red Sox and Yankees have to attempt to sign and develop their own instead of easily plucking players like this with cash.
The Marlins had to lock up Josh Johnson or the MLB and MLBPA would be all over them for not using the shared revenue on “upgrading” their roster. He’ll be traded to a team as soon as possible to save the cash.
Couldn’t be happier for the M’s and their fanbase. Hope they can take down the Angels this year.
Coming from a Yanks fan, I am very happy to see this. The league needs more of the big time home-grown talent staying home, and the M’s have done so in past years with both Ichiro and now with Felix.
We’re not all greedy fools =p. Sure I’d love to have him on my team, but, for the good of baseball, I hope he stays a Mariner for as long as possible. Same for Pujols in regards to remaining a Cardinal for as long as possible.
“Coming from a Yanks fan, I am very happy to see this. The league needs more of the big time home-grown talent staying home…We’re not all greedy fools =p. ”
Who ARE you, and how soon can you start training the rest of your fellow fan base?
I love to see a smaller market team get a REAL chance to fight to the top. Nailing down Felix long-term is another major step toward solidifying the M’s chances. Congratulations Mariners fans – hope to see you in the postseason soon!
The Mariners are a top ten salary team that’ll probably break $100 million this season. Calling them smaller market is kind of a stretch.
Not when you compare them to the “usual suspects.” That’s why I called them “smaller.”
I would guess that if Felix wants to become a free agent again before turning 30 (a pretty good guess), that the maximum length of the contract is 6 years (or 5 with some sort of mutual option.) Given the security of a long-term contract, the M’s probably asked for a bit of a hometown discount, given what Felix could command on the open market. Of course, there’s the injury factor to take into account as well. I’m sure the M’s want some level of protection if his elbow goes, since teams can’t insure the full length of long-term contracts anymore. If I were a betting man… 6 years, $104 million.
They still need a solid #3 for the rotation, especially if they’re going with the “run prevention” strategy over “run production.” After Felix and Lee, there’s not much to get excited about. RRS is solid and a good head, but he just isn’t a #3, and none of the other rotation candidates are even decent #4 candidates (Snell, Fister, Vargas, French, Olson, Petit, etc.) If Ben Sheets was being a little more realistic in his contract demands, the M’s might be in on him. Otherwise, they should be looking at 3 candidates: Jarrod Washburn, Vicente Padilla and Pedro Martinez. The names Doug Davis, Jon Garland and Braden Looper should NOT be on any list in Jack Z’s office. Pineiro will simply be too expensive.
Don’t sell RRS short. If his increased GB% is real, and not a aberration, then he’s got more upside than you would think.
I am extremely happy the M’s finally locked down Felix.. hopefully its for 6 years so he can win 6 Cy Youngs and lead the M’s to a Championship
Somewhere… Theo Epstein is crying himself to sleep
Theo’s smart. I’d like to think he realizes that he didn’t have much of a shot at acquiring Felix. I also like to think most Red Sox fans are crying themselves to sleep though.
hahahaha very good point my friend! That gives me even a better warm tingly feeling inside!
Sorry to disappoint, but many of us are pleased with this. Our rotation is pretty much as deep 1-5 as yours (Though I’d definitely give the M’s the clear advantage on 1-2), so it’s not like we’re hurting for pitching. Realistically speaking, we also weren’t going to pry him away from the M’s without giving up more than any one player is worth giving up.
Would I like to see Felix pitching for my team? Yes, anyone would. That doesn’t preclude me from enjoying seeing a player actually stick with their team for once.
Im a Yankees fan, but if you are saying the M’s rotation is as deep as the Red Sox you are just hype up bcus of this Hernadez extention. After Felix and Lee, who do the M’s have?
Meant to say “at the least as deep.” I’m honestly unfamiliar with their rotation past the number two spot, just felt I wouldn’t go the route of “oh yeah? Well we don’t need him anyway!” as I definitely wouldn’t turn down having Hernandez on my team.
This is the MLBTR headline i’ve been waiting for all winter. I could not be any happier today. I hope its for 5-6 yrs, but I will take 4. Congrats Mariners!!
As an O’s fan, I’m pretty darn happy about this.
Too early to tell. Odd how the linguistics is “multi-year deal” and not “extension.”
It could very easily just be a 2 year deal that buys out his remaining arbitration years. Which would be smart with pitchers like Lincecum possibly getting huge nets in arb.
If they bought out years of free agency though, this could be an awesome deal.
Good signing for the M’s and a strong signal to their fans that they are commited to win. The best way to build a winner is to retain your ” home grown ” talent. Good job !
F-Her just got *****ing paid *****es.
I’m not going to go Homer Simpson and claim that Ryan Rowland Smith is great, but looking at his performance in the bigs over two seasons that were somewhat interupted by nagging injuries, he’s got the look of an authentic 3rd or 4th starter, and Snell, even in his current state is a decent 5th.
With those four, I wouldn’t mind plugging in Washburn on the cheap or Jon Garland on a reasonable deal into the 3rd spot. I think that’s enough to make it a legit rotation, 1-5, with 2 killers up front.
Ryan Rowland Smith has never pitched more than 120 innings is a season. Garland and Snell are 2 punching bags that couldn’t survive the NL.
I suppose my point was that with Felix and Cliff Lee at the front of the rotation, they need a guy who will pitch 200 innings of decent baseball. Garland fits that bill, not sure where you’ve come up with your data to support the claim of him being a punching bag that couldn’t survive the NL.
Snell is a big question mark, for sure, so if he sucks there are 5th starter options.
Probably due to the fact that he was a reliever earlier in his career. When that’s the case you don’t just start out throwing 200 innings, and 7 innings a start. Over the last half of his starts in 2009 he was starting to go deep in games. He made himself more efficient by essentially trading strikeouts for groundballs, and letting the M’s ridiculous defense hoover up anything that was put in play.
RRS is going to suprise a lot of people next year I think.
Nice sign. Now I really wonder if they can keep Lee or they will go the Yankees route(vasquez) and just let him walk and collect the 1st rounder and sup pick.
I think Lee will cost at least 17M. Lee is not 23 so he will be looking to get paid. As for the Yanks, I think that if Vazquez has a decent season and the free agent are not that great, they will resign him.
You just nailed the Felix contract on the head on that one. Its heavley back loaded freeing up dollars now. Lee should get about 17M a year, but any team willing to do that for 5 years would be nuts! Pay Lee now on a 3 year contract and by the time Felix starts costing the M’s money Lee’s contract will be over. Its Brilliant!
Never use AAV to assess performance value on a multi-year contract. Stick to the value for each year. Better to have waited on that.
Great news for Mariners fans. Looks like the M’s will be for real once again. The cost doesn’t look to bad either.
This is good for the Mariners. I honestly would have hoped that they signed LaRoche to inject some power into their lineup because right now they dont really have any.
Other than that I wonder if they will try to extend Cliff Lee.
Good signing by the M’s. Personally, I would have waited another year but it’s hard to fault the M’s for either the years or the dollars.
Could you imagine if the Mariners also locked up Cliff Lee. I guess a five year $95 million deal would be fair. That would be one of the greatest offseasons ever.
That’s just it…I am wondering if they will be able to. Besides the M’s own financial resources (which I know nothing about), I also wonder if Lee will be able to resist the lure of hitting the open market for the first time (putting the state of the economy aside since not every player is deterred by that). It will be interesting to watch, and a great coup if they can swing it!
Wow best GM in the league. Lee, no Jogema (got lucky), extended Felix, traded Carlos “the negetive value” Silvia for Bradely who has some upside. Also Figgins.
i think M’s probably wait to see how they get out of the gate as to #3 pitcher and middle-order bat. then see what they really need and what they can trade for.
i think M’s probably wait to see how they get out of the gate as to #3 pitcher and middle-order bat. then see what they really need and what they can trade for.
The more you think about this deal the better it gets. For one you get arguably the best young pitcher in the Majors and two with his signing the signing of Chone Figgins and Gutierrez and the control Ichiro you have a solid base that will be around to build off of for a long while. And with the acquisition of Milton Bradley you have a player who will easily help tide you over until next years free agency in which yu have outfielders like Jayson Werth possibly on the market. This is not mentioning Cliff Lee. So while the mariners may only have a shot at winning their division this year they are keeping their top players for the long run which gives them time to improve and not have to worry about certain positions.
Bad move for felix, he could have gotten 6 years for 120 million if he went to free agency
Yes but he is rich anyway, and shows Seattle fans some kind of loyalty by staying put…
Just a tremendous signing for the Mariners. Jack Z has done a tremendous job during his helm as The Seattle Mariners GM.
That’s an absolute THEFT for the Mariners. Congrats to them. JAck Z is doing a bang-up job for them this offseason.