I am not sure how much weight to put into this, since it is the ramblings of a columnist in Boston, but according to the article linked here (you have to scroll down to "updates on nine",) talks are apparently "getting serious"
Here is the text that is interesting
7. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners - Talks between the Mariners and Hernandez’s agent, Alan Nero, are getting serious, and there’s more optimism that a long-term deal can get done this offseason. The Mariners have been aggressive signing players (Chone Figgins) and making trades (Cliff Lee,Casey Kotchman, Milton Bradley), and consider Hernandez the building block of their franchise.
It certainly looks like the goal of the front office is to show Felix they are serious - and, hopefully, it is working.