Report: King Felix gets his payday

Looks like Yankee fans will have to cross Felix Hernandez off their wish lists. The Mariners and their ace close to agreeing upon a $175M deal making Hernandez the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

The deal is for seven years and Hernandez will be making an average of $25M per year.

Hernandez was scheduled to earn $19.5 million in 2013 and $20 million in ’14. Instead, his new contract will take effect this season and pay him a record average annual value of $25 million through 2019.

Hernandez, who has been part of the Mariners ballclub since 2005, will reach ten years of service in 2015 which will give him a no-trade clause for the rest of the deal. He will also only be 33-years-old when the contract expires – he made his MLB debut at just 19.

Last year, Hernandez finished with a 13-9 record, 3.06 ERA and a threw 232.2 innings. He also pitched a perfect game in August.

Most of the responses to the deal have been of the “Good for the Mariners!” variety with the occasional, “Sucks for the Yankees!!” thrown in for good measure. Yankee fans, to their credit, believe that Felix may not see the playoffs for the length of the blockbuster deal considering the way Seattle has handled their business in recent years. And they’re also blowing virtual raspberries in Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik’s direction.

So what do you guys think of the deal? Leave a comment below.

About Stacey Gotsulias

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money and co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast.

20 thoughts on “Report: King Felix gets his payday

  1. I think it's great he got his payday and, realistically if the Yankees were serious about Plan 189, they were never getting Felix ANYWAYS.

    I'd love for him to make the playoffs (and/or make us better) but I can't fault the Mariners for making this deal.

  2. It was just amusing to see all of the "TOO BAD YANKEES!!!" reactions from some people.

  3. Let's be honest. There is always a "TOO BAD YANKEES!!!!" comment after every deal. Even if it is the Yankees making the signing.

  4. Certainly good for Hernandez and his agent, but a seven-year record deal for any pitcher scares me. Obviously, if he's King Felix through the age of 33 ,he's worth every penny. I hope he stays healthy and successful (except against the Yankees, of course). Even if he isn't, it may still be a good PR move for Seattle to keep their fans interested and to attract other free agents who want to win.

    • Unfortunately for you ProfRobert, the King himself has said privately, "I love Seattle; I want my kids to go to school here. My wife loves it here and so do I. I LOVE pitching AGAINST the Yankees and if I have my way, I would spend my entire career in Seattle." I have a dear friend who works for Felix sometimes in his home (he's a very well-respected finish carpenter); he has talked to Felix about this and everything I've posted are comments made to my friend by Felix himself…I guess our joy equals New York's frustration on this one!

  5. I think committing about 25% of a teams payroll to one player is ridiculous. Especially when that team has no reasonable expectation of success (making the postseason) in the immediate future.

    • Yup, but there will always be a team or two who does it, to their detriment, heaven forbid losing the FACE OF THE FRANCHISE OMG

      That said, there's always a knucklehead or three in your town and mine who end up leasing cars WAY above their paygrade, trying to impress. Yet, they do it. Fiscal rationality doesn't always exist.

      I'm glad Felix is staying. Good for the fine folks in Seattle. At least once every week they will be able to go see the very best of the best. That's damn cool. And delusional Yanks fans can finally step off the "can we give the farm for Felix yet?" ledge.

      • Jason, thankfully I've not been one of those fans. I also don't believe Verlander and Kershaw will ever make it to free agency after the 2014 season. So Yankee fans can scratch those 2 off their "wish list". That in my opinion only leaves Price available after the 2015 season. I do think baring the Rays really extending themselves financially that Price will hit the open market.

        • I know you haven't. I was, for a while. Back when we had really tradeable assets (Montero, cough cough, Banuelos). But really, Seattle has the fiscal wherewithal to absorb that contract, as far as I can see it.

          Maybe Price hits the open market in 2015. Might make tanking in 2013-14 worth it, dumping all that savings into Price's bank accounts, since that's exactly what we'd be doing. Sacrificing two years of a team to save some cash. Which we will throw at the latest hot thing that rolls by once the lux tax % gets rolled back to 17.5%.

          • The interesting thing that I see is the MLB CBA expires after the 2016 season. It will be interesting to see what the Tax Threshold is then. Does it stay at $189MM or go up a bit. Also, what happens with the "qualifying offer". Does it remain. Clearly it hurts those players that turn down the offer. Also what about the drafting slotting system and the penalties to the teams. Going to be very interesting.

            Also, IF Selig does indeed retire who will replace him and what stance will he take on those bery same issues.

  6. With Felix off the market and Verlander being 32 in his FA year and Kershaw likely to get a huge extension from the Dodgers (who would be foolish not to and clearly don't care about money) Price seems like the only major impact pitcher that will be a FA in the next 2 years. That being said, if the Rays are in 3 or 4th place this year at the trade deadline with little hope of making the playoffs, the smart money is on them dealing him for talent in return as there is little chance of them having the cash (or spending it for that matter) on him. I know my fellow Yanks would like to see him in the Bronx, but a team like the Cardinals would probably be his landing spot. The farm there is deep and rich and with Carpenter out this year and maybe forever, they need a new young ace. If Price goes this summer the smart money is to St. Louis. If not, the Yanks still have a good chance come winter but I can't see the Rays keeping him for 2014 and only getting a pick for him when they can get major talent for him on a year-and-a-half rental with the right to buy.

    • Not that Verlander is not a major impact, but any team that signs a 32 year pitcher, with that many innings on his arm, to a long term deal is taking a MAJOR gamble

  7. Most fans complain about the lack of loyalty in baseball and put HOFers who play their whole career (Jeter, Gwynn, Ripken, Larkin) on a pedestal. So shouldn't we all be thrilled about this deal? While I wish he could have been a Yankee, great for the amazing King Felix, and great for the city of Seattle.

    • It is a great deal for Felix. I'm not so sure it's a great deal for the Mariners. Yes he's the face of the Mariners and I'm sure a role model for the young kids. Unfortunately, in my opinion it should be the goal of every MLB team to compete in and for a World Series title. Felix has been with the Mariners for about 7 or 8 years. And for most of those years they have been pretty pathetic. The question is then would the Mariners have been better off trading him and getting the haul of a lifetime? A haul that would have made the team better across the board. A haul that probably in 1 or 2 years would have made them very competitive and probalby in just a couple more years a real contender. As I said above for a team to commit approximately 25% of it's payroll to just one player, a player who in and of himself can not bring the "brass ring" to the team is foolish.
      In my very humble opinion I think the Mariners would be best served if they trade him at some point BEFORE his 10/5 service kicks in.

      • I was surprised that they reworked the next two years versus just adding 4-5 on the back-end.

        Seattle needs fans to show up and believe in their team, his "King court" alone might not pay his salary but it can fuel (or at least maintain) the fan base. 5,000 fans added to their base (season tix wise) at $100 nite at 81 games is 81M$…he might get close to 20 home starts which seems way short of paying his salary, but he is the image of the city. I remember seeing a 12-story fat-head type mural of Shawn Kemp back in the day & King Felix is way beyond his level. Good win for the M's.

        • They didn't rework the 2 existing years as you can see from this piece on MLBTR:

          Mariners, Felix Hernandez Agree To Extension
          By Ben Nicholson-Smith [February 7 at 8:17pm CST]
          8:17pm: The extension is a five-year, $135.5MM deal that covers the 2015-2019 seasons, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. The last two years of Hernandez's current contract ($39.5MM) remain intact, so Hernandez will still make $175MM overall over the next seven years.


  8. I'm actually happy about this deal, for no other reason it'll stop all this talk I see on other threads that the Yankees should just "go get him". You know the type, the ones who act as if MLB is another fantasy league where teams can just acquire whatever talent they choose to.

  9. THIS IS AMAZING…once this contract of Felix's is up we can sign him when he is 33…hes smart because he knows after this deal he will still have maybe one more nice deal coming to him and since CC will obviously be off the books by then I would not put it past the yankees to sign him when hes 33. I dont see any pitchers hitting the open market. The Rays will trade Price before they let him hit the FA market.

    • Sure they will trade him before he gets to become a FA. But the closer he gets to free agency regardless of who it's with, the Rays or some other team the more likely it is that he will test free agency. So the fact that he will be with the Rays OR some other team I think will have little to no baring on his free agent status when the time comes.