|Felix Hernandez has gone 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in his career. (US Presswire)|
The Mariners and ace right-hander Felix Hernandez are on the verge of a record seven-year, $175 million contract extension according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The deal should be finalized before spring training. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman confirms that the deal, at parameters first reported by Nightengale, is indeed being seriously discussed by both sides. While Heyman notes that nothing is final, he reports that the overall value -- $175 million -- is in essence agreed upon, so both sides are optimistic on seeing this through to the end.
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Hernandez, 26, was scheduled to earn $19.5 million in 2013 and $20 million in 2014 under the terms of the five-year, $78 million contract he signed prior to 2010. The new contract wipes those two years out and takes effect immediately. Hernandez will earn an average of $25 million annually through 2019.
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At $175 million total and $25 million annually, the deal sets new pitching contract records in terms of total value and average annual value. CC Sabathia ($161 million with the Yankees) and Zack Greinke ($24.5 million annually with the Dodgers) held the previous records, respectively. It will be the ninth largest contract in baseball history.
Hernandez has emerged as one of baseball's most dominant pitchers over the last half-decade. He won the 2010 AL Cy Young Award despite a 13-12 record because he led the league in ERA (2.27) and innings (249 2/3) while finishing second in strikeouts (232) and third in WAR (6.8). This past season he went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA while throwing at least 230 innings for the fourth consecutive season.
For his career, Hernandez has gone 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in parts of eight seasons. The Mariners signed him as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela for $710,000 back in 2002, when he reportedly turned down larger offers from the Braves and Yankees. Hernandez threw the 23rd perfect game in history in August, beating the Rays in Seattle.
The record contract will surely catch the eye of fellow elite pitchers like Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, both of whom are scheduled to hit free agency following the 2014 season. David Price and Stephen Strasburg are due to become free agents after 2015 and 2016, respectively, and could ask for similar money down the road.
|Felix Hernandez Career Pitching Stats|
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