The talks between Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners that produced a seven-year, $175 million extension have hit a snag. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Hernandez's elbow did not check out in a pre-signing physical.
Filed to ESPN news desk: Concern about Felix Hernandez's elbow might affect contract talks about the proposed extension.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 10, 2013
Olney offers further details in an ESPN.com report, stating that at least one of his sources believes the pitcher's elbow is "an issue."
If the report is true, the historic contract will surely be affected. The Mariners obviously wouldn't want to commit that kind of money to Hernandez long-term, especially when considering that elbow injuries can ruin a pitcher's career.
On the merits of his play, Hernandez is clearly worthy of a huge deal. The righty was dominant in 2012 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP and has been an innings-eater throughout his career.
With so many innings pitched in largely good health, this news is surprising. Even Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune was caught off guard, tweeting:
The news about Felix and his elbow is something I'd never heard before— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 10, 2013
Fortunately for both sides, Hernandez remains under contract for two more seasons. There is no immediate urgency to get a deal done, so the Mariners can continue to monitor Hernandez's elbow before committing to a long-term pact.
It is unclear what will happen next. Will a second opinion make an extension a reality once again? Will the Mariners be hesitant to keep Hernandez around for the long haul?
This is definitely a situation to monitor as there is a lot of money at stake for both sides.