Felix Hernandez reportedly is close to agreeing on a new mega-deal that might make the Seattle Mariners ace the highest-paid pitcher in history.
If the initial report by USA Today is accurate, Hernandez will sign a seven-year deal worth $175 million, replacing his current contract, which has two years left on it. However, some reporters, including ESPN’s Buster Olney, are saying the new deal actually will be a five-year, $135.5 million extension added to Hernandez’s existing contract, which calls for him to make $39.5 million over the next two seasons.
Either way, King Felix would be able to buy a whole new kingdom with that amount of money.
The three-time All-Star won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010. He has a 98-76 record with a 3.22 ERA during his eight-year career with the Mariners. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he has accounted for 18.3 percent of Seattle’s wins since 2006 (94 of 515), trailing only Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who is responsible for 20.4 percent of Detroit’s wins during the same period.
Verlander is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, as is Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia currently has the largest overall contract for a pitcher, a seven-year, $161 million deal he signed before the 2010 season. Zack Greinke signed the highest average annual value deal among pitchers ($24.5 million), a six-year, $147 million deal done with the Dodgers this offseason.
Hernandez briefly pitched in the Midwest League, appearing in only two games with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2003. In 14 IP, the 17-year-old struck out 18, walked three and gave up three earned runs.
Here is a photo of young King Felix with the Everett AquaSox, whom he played for during most of the 2003 season:
Midwest League birthday boys
Several former big-league players with connections to the Midwest League were born on this date.
Carney Lansford, born in 1957, played for the 1976 Quad City Angels. He hit .287 with 14 HR, 86 RBI and 26 SB in 121 games. His sons Josh and Jared both played in the Midwest League and currently are minor-leaguers in the Oakland A’s organization.
The late Kansas City Royals great Dan Quisenberry, born in 1953, pitched for the 1975-76 Waterloo Royals. He had a 1.57 ERA with 15 saves and 50 strikeouts in 86 IP.
Burt Hooton, born in 1950, didn’t play in the Midwest League, but he is the new pitching coach for the Fort Wayne TinCaps this year.
Torii Hunter Jr. commits to Notre Dame
Will Torii Hunter Jr. follow in his father’s footsteps and someday play in the Midwest League? Only time will tell, but local fans of the South Bend Silver Hawks will be able to watch Junior in action for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
On Wednesday he signed a national letter of intent to play football at Notre Dame, and is expected to play baseball there, too.
His father, currently a Tigers outfielder, hit .293 with 10 HR and 50 RBI in 91 games with the 1994 Fort Wayne Wizards.