Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported earlier today that Felix Hernandez has agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Mariners. A team source since then, however, has stressed that no announcement is imminent and that the initial report is not accurate.
As I reported in my last post, negotiations have intensified in the last few days with Jack Zduriencik, who had taken a couple of days to drive to Arizona late last week, returning to Seattle. I also noted in that post that before a contract of this nature was to be completed, Hernandez would likely have to undergo an extensive physical, one that would take more than an afternoon. This may or may not be the reason why we are being told that an announcement has not been scheduled as of yet.
Then there is the question of the numbers. Is it a rip-up of the current contract and start a seven-year deal now situation? Or would the current contract remain in place, perhaps with bonuses for the final two years, and then a five-year contract kick in at the end?
The other possibility, of course, is that the two sides are not in agreement. If so, I am not terribly concerned. It would appear that the sides are working towards an agreement. Both sides want it, there is no question of that.
While the money is unlike anything we have seen the Mariners hand out before, the money is there. Beyond the talk of new television contracts, beyond ownership going above and beyond for the right player, the team has next to nothing in payroll commitments next year and even less the following year. Going young and developing their own talent has freed up big dollars for now. The money is there.
At some point there is a very good chance this deal gets done. Just not today.