When I first heard the news of the Felix Hernandez’s five-year, $175 million extension, my immediate reaction was not a positive one towards the Seattle Mariners. The first thing I thought about was the Mariners are forever stuck with Felix Hernandez, similar to the way the Philadelphia Phillies are stuck with Cliff Lee.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing – since both pitchers are tremendous – but there is no way either team can move either pitcher due to their contract. I planned on writing about how I thought this deal was a mistake. However, I decided that it would be a wise idea to discuss the deal with a friend of mine to get a different perspective. He convinced me that I was an idiot.
The Seattle Mariners are not a small market team; just because a team struggles to win doesn’t mean they don’t have money. The Mariners have money to spend, while $25 million for one player is a lot to spend – - it’s worth it. Seattle only has $29 million committed in 2014, and have less than $10 million in the following years (aside from Felix’s new extension). Although they won’t be able to trade him in the future, that really doesn’t matter all that much to Seattle since they can afford it.
Also, the Mariners have a really, really good young core already, with most of them under team control for quite some time. Not only is their Major League roster filled with young talent, but they also have one of the better farm system in baseball. They may not be able to compete right now, but they absolutely can in the upcoming years.
This is a deal Seattle had to make, especially with the way the starting pitching market is right now. Hernandez is better than Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, so he deserves more money than both. This deal gives Seattle a foundation to build on. They now know King Felix will be a Mariner for the next seven years, giving them ample time to build a winner.
Lastly, this is a deal we cannot judge right now. This is something that matters more in the future than the present. If the Mariners are contenders come 2015 with Felix Hernandez leading the way, it will not matter how much he’s getting paid.