Source: Hernandez re-ups with Mariners
The Seattle Mariners have been shuffling the deck, but it looks as though they'll keep their ace for a while.
On the eve of exchanging salary figures for arbitration, right-hander Felix Hernandez has agreed to a multiyear contract with the team, pending a physical, a source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com's Keith Law on Monday.
If the final parts of the negotiations continue as expected, Hernandez will sign a five-year deal worth $78 million, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Sources told Olney that Hernandez will receive a $3.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $6.5 million this season, $10 million in 2011, $18.5 million in 2012, $19.5 million in 2013 and $20 million in 2014. Hernandez also will have a limited no-trade clause.
Hernandez is due in Seattle on Thursday for a physical needed to finalize the contract, a source told The Associated Press.
Seattle and representatives for the 23-year-old right-hander exchange proposed arbitration figures Tuesday -- Hernandez asked for $11.5 million and the Mariners offered $7.2 million.
The Mariners began talking to Hernandez's agents soon after Hernandez finished second in voting for last year's AL Cy Young Award. Hernandez was 19-5 last year, tied for the most wins in the major leagues, made his first All-Star team and had a career-high 217 strikeouts with a career-low 2.49 ERA.
Hernandez went 15-2 with a 1.98 ERA after Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu called him out for not stepping up during a sloppy loss to the Angels on May 19.
Surging Seattle has made several major moves this winter in an effort to return to the postseason for the first time since 2001: acquiring former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from Philadelphia, signing All-Star third baseman Chone Figgins, trading for outfielder and designated hitter Milton Bradley and re-signing designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr.
Signing Hernandez to a long-term deal was the Mariners' first priority. Hernandez and Lee, signed through 2010, give Seattle co-aces atop a rotation.
A five-year deal would leave Hernandez just 28 when he would be eligible for free agency.
The native of Valencia, Venezuela, dubbed "King Felix" soon after he arrived in the major leagues, is 58-41 in 4½ seasons. He has averaged 14 wins and 183 strikeouts in his four full seasons in the big leagues.
"It was an important process to get to this point and avoid any distraction as we prepare for the upcoming season," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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