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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

February 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Felix deal would be ninth-highest in MLB history

If reports of an imminent seven-year, $175-million contract for Felix Hernandez are true — and we’re still trying to get our own confirmation of Bob Nightengale’s USA Today report – King Felix’s deal would become the ninth most lucrative in MLB history.

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, three of the eight contracts above him were given out by the Yankees (Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira). Two were given out to A-Rod (by the Yankees and Rangers). And none were given out to pitchers. As mentioned in a previous post, the highest contract so far awarded to a pitcher was for $161 million, by the Yankees to CC Sabathia.

Here are the eight contracts ahead of Hernandez’s would-be package:

1. Alex Rodriguez, $275,000,000 (2008-17)
2. Alex Rodriguez, $252,000,000 (2001-10)
3. Albert Pujols, $240,000,000 (2012-21)
4. Joey Votto, $225,000,000 (2014-23)
5. Prince Fielder, $214,000,000 (2012-20)
6. Derek Jeter, $189,000,000 (2001-10)
7. Joe Mauer, $184,000,000 (2011-18)
8. Mark Teixeira, $180,000,000 (2009-16)

Here are the top 10 contracts in terms of average annual value:

1. Roger Clemens, $28,000,022 (2007)
2. Alex Rodriguez, $27,500,000 (2008-17)
3. Alex Rodriguez, $25,200,000 (2001-10)
4. Ryan Howard, $25,000,000 (2012-16)
. . Josh Hamilton, $25,000,000 (2013-17)
6. Zack Greinke, $24,500,000 (2013-18)
7. CC Sabathia, $24,400,000 (2012-16)
8. Cole Hamels, $24,000,000 (2013-18)
. . . Cliff Lee, $24,000,000 (2011-15)
. . . Albert Pujols, $24,000,000 (2012-21)

Hernandez, at $25 million, would slip into the fourth spot, tied wtih Ryan Howard and Josh Hamilton.

Here are the top 10 deals for starting pitchers, to which Hernandez would go to the top of the list:

1. Zack Greinke, $24,500,000 (2013-18)
2. CC Sabathia, $24,400,000 (2012-16)
3. Cole Hamels, $24,000,000 (2013-18)
. . . Cliff Lee, $24,000,000 (2011-15)
5. CC Sabathia, $23,000,000 (2009-15)
6. Johan Santana, $22,916,667 (2008-13)
7. Matt Cain, $21,250,000 (2012-17)
8. Tim Lincecum, $20,250,000 (2012-13)
9. Roy Halladay, $20,000,000 (2011-13)
10. Carlos Zambrano, $18,300,000 (2008-12)

Johan Santana is a good example of how risky it is to give any pitcher such a lucrative long-term deal. He was 28, healthy, and had a couple of Cy Youngs under his belt with Minnesota when the Mets signed him. His first year was awesome, but then he had elbow surgery in 2009, shoulder surgery in 2010, missed all of 2011, and is nowhere near the dominant pitcher he used to be.

The Mariners hope Hernandez will be more like Randy Johnson, who signed a big four-year deal with the Diamondbacks and won four Cy Youngs. They appear to be making a very big gamble that Hernandez will stay dominant for many, many years.

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