|King Felix has given his word he's not going anywhere. (Getty Images)|
Tuesday morning, Felix Hernandez literally used the word "promise" when saying that he wasn't going to leave Seattle. He did so on Sports Radio KJR (via Seattle Times), telling local listeners that they don't have to worry about losing their King.
Hernandez is 26 years old and one of the best pitchers in baseball (if not the best). With the Mariners in rebuilding mode -- though they're approaching playoff-contender status at this point in the season -- and Hernandez only signed through 2014, the speculation that he'll be traded or sign elsewhere once his contract is up never seems to go away.
That shouldn't be an issue moving forward, however, if both sides are to be believed. General manager Jack Zduriencik couldn't possibly be more emphatic in pointing out that he's not trading his ace and now King Felix has promised he's not leaving.
The next step seems pretty easy: The Mariners need to lock Hernandez up to a really long-term deal this Winter. No reason to wait around. Give him Cole Hamels money or better in extending him through 2020 and then move onto trying to surround him with a better offense.
Hernandez is 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 180 innings this season. He threw a perfect game last time out and will again take the hill Tuesday night.