Still no contact between parties. Not that there's a set window to this, and we were told that they'd only sit down and try to hammer something out somewhere within a span of several weeks, but when Alan Nero said there's "no urgency," he wasn't kidding.
I'm not concerned that theare somehow undervaluing their star pitcher, or that they don't much care to keep him around. Nobody is more aware of how good Felix is than the people who employ him. Thought it might be a new front office, it's a new front office that's been around long enough to see Felix pitch like a legitimate ace at the age of 23. They get it. They know how to recognize a good talent, a good WAR, or a good repertoire when they see it, and they know what the package is worth.
No, the reason I'm concerned is that this is just the latest bit of evidence to the suggestion that the new M's have done little to foster a connection with their stud. Sometimes it's not enough to want a guy to stick around. Sometimes you have to let the player know how important he is and how highly he's valued. You know how, even in the most committed relationships, it's better to say "I love you" too much than too little? This is kind of like that. Felix knows that he might be the face of the franchise, but he could be the face of a lot of franchises, and to date the M's haven't done enough to make themselves more than just one of 30 teams. They're the organization with which he signed and the organization with which he blossomed, but they haven't worked to strengthen that bond, and it's hard to expect someone to be loyal to you when you've given little indication that you're loyal to him.
Sometime before too long, the Mariners and Nero will sit down, and the M's will present what they feel is a fair and competitive contract extension. Of that there's no doubt in my mind. I just wonder what effect all this is going to have. It may not mean anything. Nero's an agent and both he and Felix understand that, more than anything else, baseball's a business. If presented with a good offer, they may jump at the chance to get Felix his money. It's just that...generally speaking, you want both sides in a negotiation to be in a positive state of mind, and to be honest, I'd understand if Felix is feeling a little bit bitter.
This whole situation just sucks.