Seattle Mariners

Report: M's keeping Felix around

The Seattle Mariners already have had one of the most productive offseasons in all of baseball.

If the latest report proves true, this offseason will reach a completely different level – a franchise-changing level.

Late on Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Keith Law reported that the Mariners and star pitcher Felix Hernandez have agreed on a multiyear contract extension.

Law cited a source close to the negotiations. No details as to the contract’s length or dollar figure were available.

News of the extension follows a recent report from Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman that the two sides had made progress toward a five- or six-year deal.

While Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik won’t comment on contract negotiations, he has said that signing Hernandez is a priority.

Talks with Hernandez and agent Alan Nero have been ongoing, and the sides were set to exchange numbers this week as today marked the day for arbitration-eligible players to negotiate with their teams. Hernandez, who made $3.8 million last year, figured to get a hefty raise.

Hernandez, 23, is coming off his best season as a professional, going 19-5 with a 2.46 ERA, and speculation was that Nero would ask for something in the neighborhood of $100 million for his client. Hernandez finished second in the American League in voting for the Cy Young Award, made the All-Star team and set career highs in strikeouts (217) and innings pitched (2382/3).

But his importance to the Mariners goes beyond gaudy statistics. This past season, the Mariners were 25-9 in games he started. And in starts following a Seattle loss, Hernandez posted a 15-4 record with a 2.46 ERA.

Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483

ryan.divish@thenewstribune.com

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