Concern over elbow holds up Felix Hernandez’s new deal

Mariners, Hernandez, at impasse

Just a couple days ago it was reported that Mariner’s ace Felix Hernandez had reached a new $175 million contract with Seattle, that would replace his old deal and lock him up for seven more years.

Such a contract would have kept Hernandez a Mariner at 33 years old, and could have arguably ensured he remained a Mariner for life.

While the deal seemed imminent, talks between the club and King Felix have recently reached a hitch in the road.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported today that the contract talks have stalled because of concern over Hernandez’s pitching elbow.

The new deal would make Hernandez the game’s highest paid pitcher of all-time, but as Olney points out in his report: “as salaries have skyrocketed over the last 15 years, teams have become increasingly wary of medical concerns.”

Outside of a flexor strain in his elbow in 2007, Felix has been relatively healthy throughout his career.

The hope is that the Mariner brass will find a way to work a deal out. (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/ Getty Images)

The hope is that the Mariner brass will find a way to work a deal out. (Photo: Otto Greule Jr/ Getty Images)

But at just 26 years old, Hernandez already has 1620.1 innings pitched in his career. He has at least 200 innings pitched in each of his last five seasons.

With two years remaining on his contract, there’s still plenty of time for Seattle to reach a new deal with Hernandez.

Today’s general managers continue to get more crafty when it comes to creating contracts. When he signed with Boston, John Lackey’s contract had a clause that ensured in case of an elbow injury he would make the league minimum.

If Hernandez’s elbow really does become a long-term cause for concern, any new contract could have injury clauses in case of major issues.

After news of Hernandez’s contract had broke, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported that the right-hander had chosen to skip the World Baseball Classic.

As Knobler pointed out, the reason behind Hernandez backing out was “pressure” from Seattle.

The World Baseball Classic has long been a cause for concern when it comes to player ware-and-tear. It could be speculated that the Mariners wanted to keep King Felix out of the game to keep his elbow fresh.


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