Felix Hernandez, Mariners on verge of a $175 million contract extension

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Felix Hernandez and the Mariners have agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension.  The contract will make him the highest paid pitcher in baseball history, both in overall contract and in average annual value.

The Mariners will tear up his current deal, which was to pay him $19.5 million this year, and replace it with the new one. It will pay him, on average, $25 million a year through 2019. It’s not known yet if the contract amount increases over time or if it’s a flat $25 million a year.

Hernandez is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA and 1,487 strikeouts and 480 walks in 1620.1 innings across eight seasons.  But of course, he still doesn’t turn 27 until April.  This deal, therefore, only take him into his age 34 season.  If he holds up physically, he may get another sizable deal before he’s through.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?