• Felix Hernandez and Seattle agree on new contract
     | February 13,2013
    AP Fiel Photo

    Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez reacts after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Rays last season.

    PEORIA, Ariz. ó Felix Hernandez and Seattle reached agreement Tuesday on a contract that is expected to make the Mariners ace the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

    ďI think itís a great thing for the Seattle Mariners,Ē Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. ďItís a great thing for Felix Hernandez, and looking forward to this guy being here for a very long time, obviously.Ē

    Hernandezís deal is expected to be for $175 million over seven years. Terms of the contract were not released by the team. Hernandez and Zduriencik will hold a news conference in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon where Hernandez is expected to sign the contract.

    Earlier Tuesday, Zduriencik said the sides were having significant talks to try to finalize a new contract for the three-time All-Star and 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner. Zduriencik said then that a deal of that magnitude in years and dollars, ďtakes time to work things out.Ē

    It didnít take too long. By the afternoon, Hernandezís deal was done and Seattle had its ace locked up through the 2019 season.

    The new contract will encompass the final two years of his current deal that is scheduled to pay Hernandez $40.5 million in 2013 and 2014. Heíll receive $134.5 million over the additional five years.

    Hernandezís total dollars would top CC Sabathiaís original $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees and his $25 million average would surpass Zack Greinkeís $24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and tie him for the second-highest in baseball with Josh Hamilton and Ryan Howard behind Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million). Hernandezís new money would average $26.9 million over five years.

    With Hernandez off the market, Detroitís Justin Verlander and the Dodgersí Clayton Kershaw become the most attractive pitchers eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Tampa Bayís David Price is eligible after the 2015 season.

    Hernandez, who will turn 27 on April 8, is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight seasons with the Mariners. He won a career-high 19 games in 2009 when he finished second in the Cy Young voting then won the award a year later when he went just 13-12 but had a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts.

    Hernandez appeared to be making another Cy Young push last year before going 0-4 in his last six starts, which left him at 13-9 with 223 strikeouts.

    His career record would be even better if he didnít play with one of baseballís worst offenses. Seattle had the lowest batting average in the major leagues in each of the last three seasons. Hernandez has taken 10 losses during that span when heís given up two earned runs or less.

    For his career, Hernandez has allowed two earned runs or less in 141 of 238 starts, but the team is only 99-42 in those games due to the offensive problems.

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