Seattle Mariners Sign Felix Hernandez

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IJanuary 19, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 02: Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners throws to firstbase against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 2, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Mariners have made some stellar moves already this winter, but this one is probably the most important:

The Seattle Mariners have been shuffling the deck, but it looks like they'll keep their ace.

On the eve of exchanging salary figures for arbitration, right-hander Felix Hernandez has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team, pending a physical, a source with direct knowledge of the talks told's Keith Law on Monday.

The amount or length of the deal were not immediately available.

This is a huge move for the Mariners. There's no denying how important it was for the Mariners to lock up Hernandez long term and getting it done this winter is just another notch on GM Jack Zduriencik's belt.

The length of the contract will ultimately determine just how beneficial this contract is to the Mariners.

  • A three-year deal only buys out one year of free agency
  • A four-year deal buys out two years of free agency
  • A five-year deal buys out three years of free agency
  • A six-year deal buys out four years of free agency

From the Mariners' perspective, I'm sure they'd like to buy out as many of Felix's free agent seasons as possible given his performance and age. A six-year contract would be ideal.

You can make the case that Hernandez certainly left money on the table by signing with the Mariners now as opposed to waiting two years for free agency, but the Mariners strong offseason must have shown Hernandez that the Mariners are serious about winning.

From Hernandez's perspective, there's no reason to bolt from Seattle to the Yankees or the Red Sox when the Mariners are surrounding him with a great community, beautiful ballpark, great players, fantastic defense, lots of money, and most importantly, a great chance to win.