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felix hernandez marinersAlthough he wasn’t expected to reach the market anyway, you can cross Felix Hernandez off any dreams lists you may have had for the Cubs’ rotation in 2015. Hernandez, 26, has reportedly signed a seven-year, $175 million extension to remain with the only team he’s ever known, the Seattle Mariners.

Hernandez, consistently one of the best pitchers in the game, was already under team control through 2014, but this new deal supersedes that – so, essentially, he now gets $25 million per year for the next seven years. Given his effectiveness and age, and the escalating market, you can’t really say he isn’t worth it. Indeed, you could even argue that he gave the Mariners a hometown discount.

The signing is not yet official, and it is being reported by Bob Nightengale, so I’m sure some of you will poke some fun. It is, however, expected to get done, and it will be the most lucrative deal in history for a pitcher.

The deal marks just another step in the changing landscape for the availability of premier free agents. Teams continue to lock up their own, and, if the Cubs are expecting to be competitive in 2014/2015/2016, they’ll be able to count on free agents for only a very small portion of their success.

Fortunately, that’s already the approach the front office was taking.

As far as the price tag goes, I don’t see it having too much impact on the rest of the market, given the unique hometown circumstance, combined with Hernandez’s extremely elite talent (not to mention young age). Maybe it impacts Clayton Kershaw’s extension negotiations with the Dodgers, but that’s probably about it. David Price isn’t re-upping with the Rays, though he may seek an extension from his new team if he’s traded – and then this figure might start to become relevant.

  • Capitol Cubbie

    “Hernandez, 26″

    That’s the craziest part; feels like this guy’s been Cy Young caliber for a decade and he’s still not, theoretically, in his “prime.”

  • Bwa

    If the cubs traded for price, I’d lock him at at 7/175 in a heartbeat.

  • waittilthisyear

    6 years, 175 million dollars. i shoulda gone pro

    • cjdubbya

      If only Coach would have put you in fourth quarter, you would have made state…it would have been awesome.

      • waittilthisyear

        yea, you know, a lot of it is politics

      • Internet Random

        No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

  • TSB

    I wouldn’t give Jesus Christ 7/175. Maybe 5 and an option year

    • BluBlud

      I wouldn’t either, considering the requirement is only 10%, if you’re into that kind of thing that is.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com DB Kyle

      Well, His problem is that He couldn’t hit a curveball.

      • Can’t think of a cool name

        Are you sayig Jesus Christ couldn’t hit a curve ball?

        • fromthemitten

          Jobu is no help either

          • Rich H

            It must be spring someone is quoting Major League. Puts a smile on my face.

            • Katie

              Mine too. I could quote that movie forever.

            • fromthemitten

              [speaking in Japanese[
              they're still shitty

    • BD

      I must say I am offended by this. I understand when people are bothered or annoyed by racial slurs, gender slurs, homophobic comments and the like- so why doesn’t that apply to a person’s religious beliefs?

      • CubFan Paul

        “why doesn’t that apply to a person’s religious beliefs”

        because there’s no need to be small minded. Take a joke.

      • TWC

        Wait, so you *would* give JC a 7/$175m contract?

        But in all seriousness, you’ve gotta be pretty damn wound up to take offense to TSB’s comment. To consider this a slur… it’s just weird, man. Just weird.

      • OlderStyle

        I would agree with you. If one were to insert a random deity into the sentence someone would find offence with it, maybe even more so.
        Of course, cultural norms shift over time. 30 years ago it would’ve stirred up a lot of indignation but now stuff like that is just a punchline in a Family Guy episode.

      • hansman1982

        I’m just as Christian as you and was not offended.

        It’s not like he said:

        “I am uncomfortable giving a Christian that much money”
        or
        “Christ shouldn’t be allowed to have that much money because who he is, is icky”
        or
        “I sure as hell wouldn’t even give the King of the Jews that much money, damn Jews”

        Do you see the difference?

        • TWC

          I am uncomfortable giving Hansman a 7/$175m contract.

          All offense intended.

          • hansman1982

            Same here, I’d be much more comfortable with 10/$450M.

      • Spencer

        Yesterday it was insulting service members, today it’s blasphemy. Ridiculous. Too many over reactions and people taking stuff too personally lately. Oh well. Back to lurking.

        • Brittney

          I love BN because people can make cracks and the regulars do NOT get offended. We all know it is all in fun. My other half doesn’t mind the Jew jokes, she actually laughs and so does the family! I make gay, white, female, soldier, short, jokes all the time. My kidney recipient is Chinese and he makes cracks all the time. Life is no fun if it always taken so serious!

          on a different note….

          I am glad Seattle locked him up. They haven’t given out a large contract in a while (insert Figgins joke here). He reminds me of what Kerry Wood was to the Cubs. In the sense of being somebody from the system and such a large part of the city’s community as well as the ball club.

      • JoeyCollins

        Because people are born with their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. While a belief is just that, something you choose to believe. I could believe Tony Campana is the second coming, and worship the ground he walks on, but that doesnt mean people cant make Tony Campana jokes. No matter how much it offends me.

    • Steve B

      The good news is you don’t have to give Jesus all that money and yet he still loves you.

  • Patrick W.

    As somebody who gets to watch more live baseball in Seattle than anywhere else, this pleases me. This kid is such a huge part of the community and the Mariners. Ironically he does nothing to increase attendance during his starts but he is clearly the face of the franchise. The news out of here is that he had been asking for an 8 year extension, the team has been offering 6. Pretty easy compromise.

  • ETS

    It’s good to be king, if just for a while
    To be there in velvet, yeah, to give ‘em a smile
    It’s good to get high and never come down
    It’s good to be king of your own little town

    Yeah, the world would swing if I were king
    Can I help it if I still dream time to time

    • TWC

      Nice.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You know, that could have been Petty’s best album. I still listen to it once every couple of months, all of these years later.

      • TWC

        That album is one of the best *recorded* rock albums ever. It is absolutely flawless.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, it’s got some great tracks. It has some seriously poignant tracks, some seriously fun ones, and some great late night “AOR” tracks.

          It’s now playing on my iPod. “You belong among the wildflowers….”

          • ETS

            I heart the BN community. lol.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Or, in Petty speak, “I gave her my best kiss, she gave it back again!”

              Man, Paul McCartney must have wondered how he missed writing that line….

          • Patrick W.

            I listen to “Wake up Time” about once a week. It’s in heavy rotation on my morning work shuffle. I adore that album.

        • mak

          fully endorsed

        • MichiganGoat

          Wildflowers is MG Jr’s favorite album. When he was in utero he start kicking as soon as he heard the first notes and he still goes crazy whenever he hears it. It is one of the few flawless albums that have ever been recorded, there is not a single track that isn’t amazing and is constant rotation in my house. Amazing album all should take the time to just enjoy it from beginning to end.

      • ETS

        Am I going to be the only one to think Tom’s best was Full Moon Fever? Dancin at the zombie zoo!

    • Cubbie Blues

      I prefer Mel Brooks quote from History of the World Part 1 “It’s good to be the king”

      • cubchymyst

        I like how that quote gets used in Robin Hood men in Tights.

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    How’s that one catcher/1b/dh guy doing in Minnesota after the home town discount

    • Mick

      He’s doing great in fact, he led MLB in OBP last season. He’s also shown to be a competent defender at 1B and has the Twins even thinking of trying him out at 3B to maximize his ABs. He’s one of the best players in MLB and has arguably the purest hit tool. I’d compare him to a modern day Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs.

    • Mick

      Wait, were you talking about Mauer or Doumit? :)

      • Tim

        Mauer is a great player. I don’t think his power numbers will come back to where they were before, but ill take that OBP all year long

  • CubFan Paul

    7/$175M is even more of a reason to talk Samardzija into that 5/$55Mish extension asap before his price tag extends beyond that.

    • Scotti

      That would have to get done before, or early, in this season. If he puts together the season he is capable of–even half way through–then he is way off that mark. And, FWIW, I doubt he’d sign that now.

      • CubFan Paul

        Actually the 5/$55M is the what the market has set for Samardzija after this season (after year 1 of arbitration (matt harrison 5/$55M)). If he signs an extension now the Cubs would offer less to begin with.

        • ETS

          freaking texeria trade!

  • Chad

    Just makes trading a few prospects to get a guy like Felix or Price, then locking them up that much more worth it. As stated above a trend to lockign guys up is increasing and limiting free agency a bit. I like that honestly. But you have to have a system and an ace is probably the most difficult thing to develop. I hope to heck the cubs extend Garza and can get Price via trade.

    • cubchymyst

      Agreed, already lost a few prospects for Garza and the trend is showing that a team is less likely to find a player of Garza caliber on the free agent market. If a player of his type does reach free agency price gets knocked up due to supply and demand. If Garza is traded a good young starting pitching prospect should be part of the deal.

    • Cub2014

      Speaking of Price:
      On MLB radio they said the fastest way to turnaround a franchise
      Is to buy lower level starters and flip them to add prospects. That the Astros were doing it wrong and the Cubs have it right.

      I think 2014 is the year, the Cubs will go all in for Price.
      So rotation of: Price,Samardija,Jackson,Vizcaino and Garza
      Could be one of the best in baseball. In 2014 I think they are
      Expecting contributions from solar,Baez maybe Villanueva
      And Almora and use FA to fill holes. Then the foundation would be set.

  • WNebCub

    in response to a question on twitter Schilling says that it wasn’t anyone in uniform or anyone from the baseball ops side of things. so that’s that i guess. As far as Cubs fans are concerned.

  • Timmy

    Good signing, he’s durable, young, confident, and probably has his best years ahead. Now if only he wasn’t on the Mariners he’d be set for a bunch of 20-win seasons.

  • Drew7

    I-L-L!

  • Die hard

    But his body is prone to put on weight and look for him to be 50 lbs heavier in 3 yrs- lets see him pitch then- bad signing

    • Stinky Pete

      You are seriously forecasting a weight gain of 50 lbs? That’s ridiculous.

      • MichiganGoat

        Oh die hard and his unique dry sarcasm

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It’s official, by the way: in appropriately limited doses, I now love Die hard.

          • MichiganGoat

            Agreed once you start to read him as satire he really becomes quite enjoyable, and lets not forget he is the reason we have Dick Tidrow in our hearts.

  • Marc N.

    As far as Hernandez, I think the Mariners should have traded him for prospects. With the prospects they have a cheaper, more efficient team in the future rather than paying one mere pitcher for the next 7 years. At 26 Hernandez is likely to decline during this contract despite his salary NOT declining.

    They might have gotten Brandon Wood, Sean Burroughs, or some other elite prospect if they traded Felix. Now they run the risk of decline turning that contract into an albatross. This is a potential franchise destroyer for the Mariners, but I guess I wish them luck.

    • Edwin

      Sure, but at some point you need to keep the players you develope. Felix probably wn’t start declining until 29 or 30. He’s one of the 3 best pitchers in the game. He throws a lot of quality pitches, so even if he loses velocity, there’s a good chance he can still pitch effectively. There’s injury risk, but no more or less than any other pitcher.

      There’s also a risk that they trade Felix for prospects, and the prospects bust. Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Felix is a special talent, and I think teams are better off betting on that special talent than on prospects.

  • MichiganGoat

    I do wonder what this massive increase in salary (thx Dodgers) will do to the possible Garza extension talk. If he comes back healthy wouldn’t he be looking for something like 5/125 and would that be a good contract they way things are progressing right now?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Seems like the Anibal Sanchez deal would be the absolute top he could expect, even if he pitches well in 2013.

      • CubFan Paul

        Garza should of accepted the 65Mish he was offered last year. Now he may not ever see that $75M-$80M deal especially if sees the DL this year.

        John Danks is a happy cat.

        • Marc N.

          Garza can get 65 again pretty easily with a healthy season.

          • CubFan Paul

            Ookay…

            • Kygavin

              Considering he is the best FA SP available (depending on Lincecum) he should get 65 easy. I think he gets something around what Anibal got if he reaches FA at all

              • CubFan Paul

                No one is doubting Garza’s ability to get $65M next fall if he stays healthy. That wasn’t the pont.

                • Kygavin

                  my bad i took your “Ookay…” as disagreement. i apologize

          • MichiganGoat

            This is kind of my point, salaries are skyrocketing and if Garza looks good what he could get a lot more than we think right now. With a good year getting close to 100M is very possible if 25M/yr becomes a norm for top free agents.

            • CubFan Paul

              Garza has never been good enough in his career to earn more than 5/$80M

              He’s a second tier starter that’ll be worth $13M-$16M next offseason if healthy. No more than that.

              maybe someone gives him 6 guaranteed years at $15M/$16M per. That’ll get him to $90M-$96M but still not $100M. He’s not that good.

              • MichiganGoat

                I agree that Garza is 2nd tier and that 80-90M contract looks about right at this moment but I won’t be surprised if next off season we see a dramatic bump in payroll and with a healthy good/great season the salary he’d be offered on the open market might surprise everyone.

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