February 8, 2013
Reportedly set to re-sign RHP Felix Hernandez to a seven-year extension worth $175 million. [2/7]
By signing Hernandez to the richest pitcher contract in history, the Mariners are taking on a staggering amount of risk. By signing Hernandez to this deal two seasons prior to his date with free agency, the Mariners are opening themselves up to relentless second-guessing. And by signing Hernandez to this deal the Mariners took the only real way out—that seems to be one of the big defenses, at least.
Hernandez means a ton to the Mariners fan base—perhaps more than any other team's most-talented player. If you know the Hernandez mythology then you know Hernandez snubbed the Yankees and additional dollars for the Mariners as an amateur. (He's since snubbed free agency twice now in order to remain in Seattle.) In return the Mariners faithful have done what people living in dire conditions throughout history have done: anoint the most powerful amongst them king and then celebrate his presence every fifth day with costumes and songs. Giving Hernandez this deal isn't just about keeping him happy, but about keeping his fans—his people—happy, too. A royal life, indeed.
Uncertainty is the other main defense point about the timing of the new deal. Picture this scenario: Hernandez compiles back-to-back Cy Young consideration-worthy campaigns in 2013 and 2014, and then hits the open market. What dollar value would he receive then? We don't know and we'll neve