Reports say that the Seattle Mariners have ripped up the last two years of Felix Hernandez’s current contract, which would have paid him $40 million, and inked a new seven-year, $175 million deal with their ace pitcher. This new contract, which averages out to $25 million a year, makes Hernandez the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, both in terms of average annual salary and total contract value, beating out Zack Greinke’s $24.5 million average and C.C. Sabathia’s $161 million monster. Actually, being that Sabathia’s contract was the largest for a pitcher in MLB history, Felix Hernandez has actually become the highest-paid pitcher of all time. And while some may question the decision to offer such a large contract, it is not as ridiculous as it might seem at first. During his first four years with the Yankees, Sabathia averaged about 5.2 wins above replacement per season, which is almost identical to the 5.1 WAR that Hernandez has averaged over the last 4 years. And in order to “earn” the contract that has just been signed strictly on a dollar-per-win basis, Hernandez would have to compile about 30 WAR, or about 4.3 WAR per season. Aside from “earning” his contract, this 30 WAR, along with the 31.5 WAR that Hernandez already has under his belt, would solidify his place in the Hall of Fame. And while only time will tell what will become of his career and whether such a contract was a good decision, Felix Hernandez definitely has something to be happy about at present and for years to come.
UPDATE: Thursday night Hernandez officially agreed to a five-year, $135.5 million extension with the Seattle Mariners, which will add on to the remaining two-years and $39.5 million left in his current contract.