It’s party time in Seattle.
In The Bronx, it’s, well, um … Bengay time? Time to redeem those Coke bottles for the 5-cent payments?
In case you needed another reminder of baseball’s changing landscape, and the Yankees certainly didn’t, we learned yesterday that the Mariners and Felix Hernandez agreed to a record-setting, seven-year, $175 million extension that will keep King Felix in the Emerald City through 2019. Forget about the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, who would have been eligible for free agency following the 2014 campaign, getting lured to the Yankees any time soon.
It’s more depressing news in what has been a depressing offseason for Hal Steinbrenner’s old, commitment-phobic club and its agitated fan base. Even the imminent arrival of pitchers and catchers in Tampa may not change the vibe.
The Hernandez deal shows the Yankees’ problem is twofold: They want to slash costs — even isolated African tribes know about ownership’s aspiration to get the 2014 payroll below $189 million — while the rest of the industry is bathing in cash.
To be clear, the Yankees absolutely love Hernandez, and had the Mariners dangled him in trade discussions, the Yankees would have 1) offered virtually anyone and everyone in their farm system and 2) made the dollars work. The Yankees have room in their budget for one more big contract. Had they somehow acquired Hernandez, then we’d be guaranteeing a goodbye to Robinson Cano after this season.
It never got to that point, however, because the Mariners easily can afford to give this sort of package to Hernandez, who lives in Seattle year-round and possesses no apparent wanderlust. Hernandez won’t experience free agency until he’s 33, at the earliest, and this is no aberration when it comes to stud starting pitchers. Don’t bet on either Detroit’s Justin Verlander or the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, both apparently content with their generous employers, to reach their scheduled freedoms after the ’14 season; Hernandez-like extensions are more likely.
Hernandez pact shows Yankees have become cash commoners
New York Post | Feb 8