The Felix Hernandez contract extension talks have morphed into something much more meaningful, as the ace pitcher and his Seattle Mariners have agreed on a new deal that will make the right-hander the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. Hernandez will receive a seven-year extension worth $175 million, and that contract will actually begin in the upcoming 2013 season and buy out the last two seasons of his previous deal. This is obviously a massive commitment on the part of the Mariners, as they’ll be doling out $25 million annually to a pitcher. Thank God for them that pitcher is filthily dominant.
In terms of consistent mastery, there are few players in the game who can boast a track record anywhere close to Felix’s. Hernandez has logged between 232 and 249 2/3 innings every since his age-24 season, and he already has a Cy Young award under his belt. His FanGraphs WAR totals for the past four seasons are as follows: 6.8, 6.0, 5.2, 6.1. I could go on and on, but perhaps the simplest way to summarize Hernandez’s accomplishments is to say it would be very difficult to argue fervently against him as the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s pretty much a surefire Hall of Famer once he retires.
If you’ve spent much time with us, you know we hate overly-long contracts because of all the risk involved. With Felix, I’m not really all that worried. He’s proven to be extremely durable, he’s somehow still not even 27 years old until April, and his track record is impeccable. Hernandez is a star at the top of his game, and he has no injury history to speak of. If there was any one pitcher in the game I would give a seven-year contract to without blinking an eye, I think it would have to be Felix. I think this extension works just fine for both the player and his team, and I think I’ve probably already spent enough time salivating over Hernandez’s numbers for one day. (I’ll allow myself to return to his Baseball Reference page tomorrow.)