Mariners’ Felix Hernandez Gets What May Be Top-Paid Pitcher Deal

The Seattle Mariners and former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez have reached agreement on a new contract that may make him the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

The Mariners confirmed the agreement, without disclosing contract terms, and said a news conference will be held today in Seattle. USA Today reported last week that Hernandez would get $175 million over seven years, citing an unidentified person familiar with the contract.

Hernandez, a 26-year-old right-hander, has a 98-76 record with a 3.22 earned run average over eight seasons with the Mariners and won the Cy Young Award in 2010 as the best pitcher in the American League. Seattle hasn’t reached the playoffs since Hernandez made his major league debut at age 19 in 2005, with two winning seasons in that span.

Hernandez’s contract would surpass the seven-year, $161 million deal that the New York Yankees gave CC Sabathia before the 2009 season as the richest for a pitcher in MLB history. It’s annual value of $25 million would eclipse the $24.5 million that Zack Greinke will get each season from the Los Angeles Dodgers under a six-year, $147 million contract signed in December.

Hernandez, nicknamed “King Felix,” was set to make $19.5 million this season and $20 million in 2014 under the five-year, $78 million deal he signed in January 2010, USA Today said. At the time, Hernandez was coming off a season in which he went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA. He then went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA in 2010 to win the AL Cy Young.

Hernandez had a 13-9 record with a 3.06 ERA last season. He’s made at least 30 starts each of the past seven years and topped 230 innings and 200 strikeouts each of the last four seasons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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