The Seattle Mariners have not signed Felix Hernandez to a long-term contract extension. That's the one thing we know for a fact. The rest is all still rumor, and the Mariners, for their part, deny that anything is planned or imminent. But the Mariners are always the last to confirm these things, and everybody else is running with the story. Maybe the final figure won't be exactly $175 million, or maybe there will be an option or just other odd details we haven't heard of yet, but there's every reason to believe the Mariners and Felix are on the verge of staying committed to one another. We've been approaching this point, and we're coming up on spring training, during which players generally don't like to be distracted by things like contract negotiations.
People have their varying opinions of the deal. And they're not just varying degrees of "hey, all right" -- some people are thrilled, and some people are terrified. Some people, legitimate people, intelligent people, think the Mariners are making a mistake. There are arguments for both sides, which is why there is an argument between the two sides. Nothing is absolute.
Except for this! One thing that's absolute is that I absolutely posted about the Felix contract at FanGraphs, and here is a link to the post. This is what some in the business refer to as "self-promotion," and what none in the business refer to as "self-promizzle," anymore, hopefully. I'm going to excerpt one little section not only to give you a tease, but also because I feel like this is important to get:
By looking at the money, one might conclude that Hernandez didn't give the Mariners a hometown discount, in the way that Jered Weaver re-signed with the Angels for less than he deserved. The Mariners are basically signing Hernandez for free-agent money, two years away from free agency. But here's the key to that sentence: the Mariners are signing Hernandez. The "hometown discount" is that Hernandez was willing to re-sign with the Mariners in the first place, despite the fact that they've been so mediocre for so long.
The Mariners aren't getting a discount in the form of financial savings. Seems to me they're getting a discount in the form of willingness to stick around, since most players prefer to play for winners and the Mariners haven't won. The loyalty is manifest in Felix wearing the uniform.
This is a day for celebration. Not because the Mariners got a bargain, because they didn't. Not because Felix is a guarantee, because he isn't. Because Felix might be on his way to being the greatest Seattle Mariner in franchise history. In a way this feels like the Mariners have successfully defended a little hill in the middle of a vast battlefield. They've still got Felix. They've still got Felix for a while.