There's an old, flawed saying that pitching is 75 percent of baseball. In reality, it's no more or less than 50 percent (including defense). Hitting, naturally, is the other half. That said, when your team has bad pitching, it sure seems like the odds are 3-to-1 against your team winning that day. If not greater.

THAT said, any team spending 75 percent of its payroll on pitching is doing it wrong. Any pitcher is a sore elbow or shoulder away from having his effectiveness weakened, perhaps significantly. Take what might be happening with Felix Hernandez.

On Thursday, he agreed with the Seattle Mariners on the framework for a $175 million contract extension, sending fans of that team to the moon. On Friday, citing "pressure" from the M's over the big contract, Hernandez pulled out of the World Baseball Classic, sending Venezuela into a mild collective depression. On Sunday, reports surfaced (first from ESPN's Buster Olney that Hernandez's right elbow has become "an issue" that is impeding the big extension from becoming official.

Reporter Geoff Baker of the Seatttle Times jumped in with some ominous but foggy details:
• He has heard "rumblings" that Hernandez failed a physical.
• Hernandez's agent did not respond to a phone call or to text messages asking him to confirm or refute the "rumblings."
• Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik gave him a "no comment" after being asked if Hernandez had failed a physical. Jack Z also said it's team policy to not comment on any ongoing negotiations, and that Hernandez will "be there" when spring training opens Tuesday.