Saturday, February 9, 2013

King Felix Collects

It must feel pretty good being king.

Felix Hernandez is getting a five-year contract extension worth $135.5 million on top of the two years/$39.5 million remaining on his current deal. The extension makes him the highest paid pitcher by yearly salary, surpassing Zack Greinke--who held the title for all of two months--and falls in line with recent deals handed out to David Wright, Cole Hamels, and Josh Hamilton.

Handing out nine-figure contracts to starting pitchers is always risky, but locking up the 2010 AL Cy Young winner for the rest of the decade should prove to be a sound investment for the Mariners. When he's on, Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in the game today, every bit as good as Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. Look no further than his perfect game last summer, the 23rd in major league history, as proof of what he's capable of every time he takes the mound.

The three-time All-Star is also one of the most durable starters around. Nobody's thrown more innings over the past four years. In that same span he has the second best ERA (behind Kershaw) and third most strikeouts (behind Verlander and Tim Lincecum). Better yet, the soon-to-be-27-year-old is in the heart of his prime and should have several more elite seasons ahead of him.

In related news, Hernandez decided to sit out this year's World Baseball Classic and will not pitch for Venezuela in the international tournament.

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