Does King Felix's contract mean he's staying in Seattle for the long haul?
Hernandez and the Mariners have agreed to a 7-year deal worth $175 million, for an average of $25M per year.
This is definitely a great move by the Mariners, who have long relied on King Felix to be their best pitcher, their biggest draw, and occasionally their ONLY talented player on the roster.
But will this silence the seemingly omnipresent rumors about a trade to the Yankees, Red Sox, or some other big-market team?
While it seems like Hernandez likes it in Seattle, and now he's guaranteed to be paid like the legitimate ace that he is, this deal definitely doesn't take him completely off the table for other teams who might be interested in his services.
We don't know the full details of the deal, and it's safe to assume that some sort of no-trade clause is included, so Hernandez would certainly have to approve of any deal. Even without a no-trade clause, he's nearing his 10/5 eligibility (10 years of MLB service, last 5 with the same team) so he'll be able to reject any deal in 2014 or later, regardless of any clause that may or may not be included in his contract.
This deal doesn't necessarily guarantee that he'll be in Seattle for the next 7 years. It merely guarantees that he'll be paid $175M over that period.
If a team was going to trade for King Felix before this deal was signed, they'd really only be trading for 2 guaranteed seasons of his services, since his previous deal was set to expire in 2014.
Now, with a contract through 2019, Felix's value is much more concrete, and teams know that they'll be able to retain his services long-term if they happen to be fortunate enough to acquire him in a trade.
Am I saying he'll definitely be traded? Absolutely not. But don't be too quick to assume that he WON'T be traded, if the Mariners continue to fail in their ongoing rebuilding process.