The next big contract in baseball? It could go to Felix Hernandez.
The Seattle Mariners continue to talk to Hernandez about an extension, according to major-league sources. And while no deal is close, the Mariners are at least weighing a four-year, $100 million proposal, sources said.
It is not known whether the Mariners actually have made Hernandez such an offer; one source described the two sides as "dancing" but not deeply engaged. But a $100 million extension added to the final two years of Hernandez's current contract would amount to six years, $139.5 million — a starting point for further discussions, and perhaps even a reasonable framework for a deal.
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke recently signed a six-year, $147 million contract as a free agent. Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million extension last July, when he was just over three months away from hitting the open market.
Hernandez, who turns 27 on April 8, is two years away from free agency, which is why the Mariners could attempt to justify offering him less. Then again, he has a career ERA-plus of 127, while Hamels is at 126 and Greinke 114 (ERA-plus is ERA adjusted to a pitcher's league and ballpark; 100 is considered average).
The biggest problem with a four-year extension for Hernandez is that he probably would want a longer deal. He would be a free agent at 32 if he accepted such an offer, possibly past his prime. Of course, he also might command another big contract at that age, and his career earnings by then would be — ahem — $183.1 million.
Viewed from that perspective, Hernandez might prefer immediate security, particularly when he makes no secret of his desire to remain with the Mariners. Again, nothing appears imminent, and both sides are declining comment. But for King Felix's many fans in Seattle, the talks alone are a positive sign.
Mariners, Hernandez talk extension
Foxsports.com | Jan 22