Felix Hernandez, Mariners discussing 7-year, $175 million extension

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
Year Team W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV SVO INN H R ER HR HBP BB SO
2005 SEA 4 4 2.67 12 12 0 0 0 0 84.1 61 26 25 5 2 23 77
2006 SEA 12 14 4.52 31 31 2 1 0 0 191.0 195 105 96 23 6 60 176
2007 SEA 14 7 3.92 30 30 1 1 0 0 190.1 209 88 83 20 3 53 165
2008 SEA 9 11 3.45 31 31 2 0 0 0 200.2 198 85 77 17 8 80 175
2009 SEA 19 5 2.49 34 34 2 1 0 0 238.2 200 81 66 15 8 71 217
2010 SEA 13 12 2.27 34 34 6 1 0 0 249.2 194 80 63 17 8 70 232
2011 SEA 14 14 3.47 33 33 5 0 0 0 233.2 218 99 90 19 7 67 222
2012 SEA 13 9 3.06 33 33 5 5 0 0 232.0 209 84 79 14 12 56 223
Total   98 76 3.22 238 238 23 9 0 0 1620.1 1484 648 579 130 54 480 1487

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CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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