I just had a nice chat with Alan Nero, the agent for Felix Hernandez, who continues to stress that there are absolutely no negative issues between his client and the Mariners. At the end the interview, I joked that the phrase he used the most was “no worries.” Nero joked back that the text phrase that applies to Felix’s situation is NP — No Problem.
Here’s where we stand: Nero met today with Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik. “It was a healthy meeting,” Nero said. “We all know where we stand. We have about 10 Mariner clients, mostly minor leaguers. We spent about three minutes on Felix, three on everyone else.”
I asked him if the two sides have actually started negotiations on an extension.
“Not really,” Nero replied. “We’re philosophically dancing.”
That’s a great turn of phrase — philosophically dancing. I think it’s the sequel to “Dirty Dancing.” And look for the new reality series on Fox, “Philosophical Dancing with the Stars.” I hear Cheryl Burke and Immanuel Kant is the team to beat this year.
The way I take it, it refers to figuring out the parameters of a Hernandez extension — years, salary range, timing, etc. It’s the logical first step to working out a deal as complex — and costly — as Felix’s would be. In fact, once the philosophical dancing is done to everyone’s satisfaction, if indeed it is, the actual deal-making is probably the easy part.
The point Nero clearly wants to make is for fans — and media; especially media — to chill.
“There’s nothing urgent,” he said. “Felix is so comfortable right now. He’s been in the Mariner family from day one. We have a lot of time to work something out. We’ll go forward. No one is pushing the other. Last year, we settled our arbitration case in three phone calls. If that’s the case, we can do that again.”
When I pointed out that the reason for the concern is because Felix could be in Roy Halladay’s lame-duck situation next offseason if no extension is worked out now, he said, “We still have two years. We have the rest of this offseason, we have spring training. You’re accelerating the time table. Felix is very comfortable in his skin. Everything happens in due time, and good things are going to happen. There’s no stress here.”
And just in case you didn’t get that point, here’s more from Nero on Felix: “He’s very happy. He loves his pitching coach, he has confidence in Wak, he loves the team. There are no problems at all. All that talk about trades — there have been no discussions, zero, from the team side. Obviously, his name comes up. There are 29 other teams that would love to have Felix Hernandez.”
Nero, remember, goes way, way back with the Mariners. He represented Randy Johnson, Lou Piniella, Edgar Martinez and John McLaren , among others — not to mention Kenji Johjima. Heck, he represented Don Wakamatsu for much of his career (but not currently).
“There’s a lot of trust here,” he said. “Not distrust. A tremendous amount of trust. We’ve done a lot of business with the Mariners through the years. I’ve known Jack as long as I’ve known Chuck (Armstrong). They don’t come any better than Jack Zduriencik. He’s a solid, honest guy.
“Bottom line: No worries.”
So stop worrying already.
(Oh, yeah. Please follow me on Twitter. Don’t make me grovel.)