Report: Concern over Felix Hernandez’s elbow could hinder contract extension

Thursday brought some potentially huge Mariners when reports surfaced that Felix Hernandez was close to signing a new seven-year contract that would keep him in Seattle through the 2019 season, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Sunday that concerns about Hernandez’s elbow are complicating the deal.

From Olney’s story:

As of Sunday afternoon, sources say, the Mariners and Hernandez are not close to finishing an extension, because there are issues that the two sides are sorting through.

The elbow issue is perceived by at least one of the parties in the deal as being a possible impediment to the completion of the new contract.

“It’s an issue,” said one source.

This certainly doesn’t mean the deal will fall through. As Olney points out, the Mariners could put language into the contract that protects them from a specific injury, which is what the Yankees did when signing C.C. Sabathia to a big contract.

Hernandez has been incredibly durable, pitching 190 or more innings in every full season of his career, and going 230 or more in each of the last four seasons, but it appears there is at least some concern about his elbow going forward. But again, this isn’t necessarily going to keep Hernandez and the Mariners from agreeing a long-term deal. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times Sunday that negotiations are still ongoing, and if a physical had turned up a serious issue, it’s hard to imagine the Mariners would still be talking about a long-term extension.

This situation is, however, a reminder why it is so risky to give any pitcher a seven-year extension. Even if a physical showed absolutely nothing wrong with Hernandez’s elbow, shoulder or any other body part, there are no guarantees whatsoever that he’ll stay healthy through 2019. But as many have pointed out, there is a flip side of worrying too much about possible injuries. When Randy Johnson wanted a new contract, the Mariners balked because they were worried about his back. All Johnson did after being traded was go on to win four more Cy Young awards while establishing himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball history.

So no, there are no guarantees, but odds are that unless something is seriously wrong—and again, if there was, would negotiations still be ongoing?—that this deal will get done eventually.

More in Sports

Seahawks’ reign in the NFC West appears to be over

With Sunday’s big 42-7 win, the Rams look like the team to beat now and for the immediate future

Grading the Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to the Rams

Plenty of failing grades after the much-anticipated NFC West showdown dissolves into a beatdown

Carroll: ‘That was a really dismal performance’

Seahawks’ playoff hopes dim with a 42-7 drubbing by the Rams

Russell Wilson: ‘They beat us pretty good today’

The veteran QB suffers his most lopsided defeat since joining the Seahawks in 2012

Silvertips rout Portland 8-3, move into first place

Everett heads into the Christmas break having won 11 of its past 12 games

REFLECTIONS: Silvertips enter break first in Western Conference

It seems impossible, but the Everett Silvertips are in first place in… Continue reading

Washington men stave off Loyola Marymount 80-78

Noah Dickerson’s 13 points in the final five minutes help Washington hold on

VIDEO: Postgame reaction to the Seahawks’ loss to the Rams

Seattle coach Pete Carroll and players speak after the Seahawks’ 42-7 loss to Los Angeles.

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Most Read