Felix Hernandez will make $27 million in the final year of his new $175 million, seven-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, which includes a conditional eighth-year option should he need elbow ligament surgery during the length of the deal.
Hernandez also is receiving a $6 million signing bonus for the contract he signed on Wednesday, the largest deal for a pitcher in baseball history. The signing bonus is payable within 30 days of the contract’s approval by Major League Baseball, and he’ll make $19 million this season and $22 million in 2014. The $47 million due during 2013-14 is $6.5 million more than he was due under his previous deal.
The contract slowly escalates from there, with Hernandez getting $24 million in 2015, $25 million in 2016, $26 million in both 2017 and `18 and the largest yearly sum in his final season.
FOXSports.com first reported details of the contract.
The conditional option year would become a club option if Hernandez spends at least 130 days on the disabled list within any consecutive 183-day period during the contract due to the need for Tommy John surgery. Hernandez would receive $1 million for that option season.
There were reports that exams prior to the contract being finalized showed concern over Hernandez’s elbow, but Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Wednesday that team doctors gave Hernandez a ”clean bill of health.”
”(Dr.) Ed Khalfayan said he’s normal, and this guy could go on and pitch his entire career and never have a problem,” Zduriencik said. ”Any time you engage in this length of a contract, there’s always a risk involved. You have to weigh, are you ready to take this risk, and we were.”
Hernandez was even more confident in his ability to stay healthy throughout the length of the deal.
”I’m the guy that can keep my own self healthy. The way I work, that is why I’ll be healthy,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez can also receive bonuses for All-Star selections, Gold Gloves and MVP awards. He would get a $200,000 bonus for another Cy Young Award.
The structure of Hernandez’s conditional option is similar to the one in the $82.5 million, five-year contract John Lackey signed with Boston before the 2010 season. That agreement includes a provision giving the Red Sox a conditional option for 2015 at the major league minimum that could be exercised if Lackey suffered an elbow injury. Boston now has the ability to exercise that option if it chooses to do so because Lackey missed last season due to elbow surgery in November 2011.