It's official: You can stop your commenting, radio show phone calls, emails to Cafardo's mailbag, and whitehouse.gov petitions requesting the Red Sox trade for Felix Hernandez. The Seattle Mariners and their still-youthful ace are close to finalizing a seven-year, $175 million contract that will make him the highest-paid pitcher in the history of such a thing existing, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
His new contract will take place of his old one, starting with the 2013 season and replacing the $39 million still owed him. As he's going to average $25 million per season over the lifetime of this new deal, it's fair to say Hernandez was okay with the trade off. The Mariners, too, make an emphatic statement to the rest of the league with this deal, letting everyone else know how badly they want Hernandez around in the long run. As if it weren't nigh impossible to make headway on trade talks with them before, you have to think this all but settles the matter unless Hernandez falters to a point where acquiring him doesn't mean what it once did.
The deal should "be finalized before spring training" according to Nightengale, so, if you really can't let go of the Hernandez dream just yet, you've got a few more days to work it out of your system. And King Felix has time to shop for a throne -- might we suggest something with a little Westeros' flavor?
And, if you were considering Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw as alternatives to Felix, given they hit free agency at the same time -- before the 2015 season -- you can probably cut that out now. There is a very good chance one of them reaches the $200 million mark if they make it to free agency. Remember, Hernandez signed prior to being a free agent, without the kind of leverage that entails, and still pulled in a record-breaking pitcher contract.
For the record, the Mariners are denying they have plans to announce an extension, but that's to be expected up until the thing is actually finalized, as I'm sure Red Sox fans are aware can happen. Or did we already forget about the wait for Mike Napoli?