Mariners, King Felix Agree to $175 Million DealBy Daniel J.
In an offseason that hasn’t seen much action, the Mariners made one of the biggest moves by simply opening their checkbook and writing a large sum.
After nearly a week of negotiations that involved concern over ace pitcher Felix Hernandez’s throwing elbow, the Seattle Mariners and their best player finally agreed to terms Wednesday on a seven-year contract extension worth $175 million – the largest contract for a pitcher in Major League history. The deal eclipsed C.C. Sabathia’s 2009 contract with the Yankees by $14 million.
Hernandez, who had said all along he wanted to stay in Seattle, became emotional during the signing, as he also understood the historical significance of the deal.
“It was emotional because this is a big thing. This is a big dream,” Hernandez said via ESPN.com.
The organization saw that his love for the team and for the city of Seattle was genuine.
“I think it’s important more than anything that he wanted to be here. He was expressing this over and over and over,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said. “That’s pretty unusual. How many players tell you to your face, ‘I’d really like to stay here.’ That makes you feel pretty good.”
The signing shows that the Mariners are committed to holding on to their talent and to building a competitive team for the future. Although the Mariners probably won’t be in the playoff mix in 2013 (they have 75/1 World Series futures odds at the moment), the signing is a signal to the bigger markets that the smallballers are not going to give up without a fight and are willing to spend some dough to compete. That is certainly good news for Ms fans and fans of small market teams everywhere.
Of course, there will be plenty of pressure on King Felix now that he is the highest paid pitcher in history. With the pressure to be the top notch ace he has been in years past combined with the elbow concerns, we’ll have to see if King Felix continues to reign supreme.