From Baker's newspaper(!) work:
In the weeks ahead, [Felix's] agent, Alan Nero, will meet withgeneral manager Jack Zduriencik to explore a deal that will keep Hernandez in Seattle for years.
So this isn't really news any more than "Mariners to explore free agency" is news, but what it is is a reminder that you may want to take care to appreciate Felix's last two starts in 2009 a little more than you might otherwise. Because if the two sides don't show signs of coming together in contract talks, things can change in a hurry.
I don't have a whole lot of insight, here. I know Felix likes Seattle. His family's there. All things considered, he'd like to stick around, and the security of, say, a four-year contract would still give him the option of hitting free agency at 27. So it's not like re-signing with Seattle would blow a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a legendary payday. But the closer he gets to the end of team control, the less incentive he has to grant the M's a big discount, and he's not going to come cheap. The combination of not knowing what Felix would settle for and the front office never saying anything to anyone ever makes this a difficult situation to predict. Felix says that he wants to be made to feel wanted, but what does that even mean?
As has been pointed out, Felix's agent is the same guy who negotiated Jon Lester's extension with Boston which bought out one year of free agency with a second year option. But then, Lester was four years from being an FA at the time, while Felix is only two, so who knows what kind of difference that could make. Gun to my head, I think the M's and Felix come together. I think the M's will recognize how good Felix is and give him enough to stay for four or five years. The guy's 23 and he has the #4 FIP and the #2 tRA in the AL. He's legitimately great. However, I'm not certain. Nobody's certain. And for that reason, I intend to celebrate these final two Felix Days of 2009 like none other. Just in case.
Jack: I'd understand, of course, but please don't let this be the end of an era. This era's just beginning.