Reports differ on record deal for Hernandez
AFPSEATTLE, Washington -- Felix Hernandez could walk into Seattle Mariners training camp on Tuesday as the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball, or he might not be there at all, according to U.S. reports.
February 9, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
USA Today reported Thursday that the 26-year-old Venezuelan has agreed to a seven-year deal worth US$175 million, which would be the richest contract in baseball history, while MLB.com reports that no such agreement has been made.
The newspaper said the deal would be finalized before the start of preseason training, which for the Mariners will begin on Tuesday in Peoria, Arizona, when pitchers and catchers are due to report.
Right-hander Hernandez is set to make US$19.5 million this year and US$20 million next year to complete a five-year deal worth US$78 signed in 2010.
USA Today says the new deal would replace the last two years of the old deal and five more seasons beyond at US$25 million a year through the 2019 campaign.
Major League Baseball's largest deal for a pitcher is currently the seven-year deal worth US$161 million signed before the 2010 season began by New York Yankees star C.C. Sabathia.
Zack Greinke will average a record annual sum for pitchers of US$24.5 million from a six-year deal worth US$147 million signed in December with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner as top pitcher, hurled a perfect game for the Mariners over Tampa Bay last August on his way to a 13-9 season with a 3.06 earned-run average and 223 strikeouts in 33 starts.
The three-time All-Star has a 98-76 Major League Baseball record with a 3.22 earned-run average in 238 starts for Seattle since his 2005 debut. He has pitched no less than 232 innings in each of the past four seasons.
In this Aug. 15, 2012, file photo, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez reacts after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Seattle. (AP)