A Deal Fit For a King

It was reported this past week that pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners is nearing a contract extension that will keep him in Seattle for at least seven more seasons and make him the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball. Hernandez, who is nicknamed “King Felix” because of his dominant pitching, has been one of the best pitchers in the MLB since he came onto the scene in 2005. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010 and will only be turning 27 years old in April.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hernandez is worthy of the rumored seven-year deal worth $175 million. Besides winning the Cy Young Award, he also tossed a perfect game in 2012 and has a 3.22 career earned run average.

Hernandez has become the face of a struggling Mariners team. He brings fans to the ballpark with his capability to throw a gem of a game every time out. Without him, the Mariners’ attendance over the season would surely drop, and fans would be left without a reason to cheer their team on.

For the Mariners, signing Hernandez to such a big deal says a lot about where they believe they are headed. If the Mariners did not believe that they had the pieces to compete within the next few years, I highly doubt that they would be willing to spend such a large sum of money on any single player. They are now showing a commitment to turning the team around and heading in a winning direction by handing him a record breaking deal.

For the past few seasons, Hernandez had been viewed as potential trade bait. Considering the Mariners’ struggles, many believed it would have made sense for them to trade Hernandez for prospects before they had to give him a big money deal. But the Mariners stood by Hernandez and turned down numerous potential deals that involved him and now they have locked their star up for seasons to come.

Hernandez himself is, of course, the biggest beneficiary of this deal, but other MLB pitchers will benefit from the deal as well. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is set to become a free agent following the 2014 season and is regarded by many as the best pitcher in the MLB. Verlander is now able to demand more money than Hernandez is getting, which sets Verlander up for a very pretty payday.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is also set to become a free agent following the 2014 season and is worthy of a large contract as well. Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price may benefit the most from Hernandez’s deal, however, since he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season. Price will not only have Hernandez’s deal to base his off of, but he will also have Verlander and Kershaw’s to help him make a case for a larger deal.

There is no doubt that Hernandez’s deal did not just change the framework of a weak Mariners franchise, but the framework of the MLB in general . This deal sets up more mega-contracts for pitchers, and some even believe it paves the way for a $200 million contract for a pitcher. For more than ten years now MLB players have been getting mega-contracts.Now that Felix Hernandez is joining the club, many other pitchers will likely follow him.