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Bolt Down The Throne

Felix Hernandez
King Felix is sticking around. Hours before arbitration figures were scheduled to be exchanged, the reports are that the Mariners and Hernandez have agreed on a 5 year, $78 million deal.

I was going to hold out until specifics were officially announced (especially the breakdown of the annual salaries), but I'm just too excited. I have never thought that Felix would leave, but considered signing him to a long-term deal the team's top priority this offseason from the outset.

Mission accomplished. Furthermore, if the rumors are anywhere close to true, this is a great deal for both sides. For starters, both get some significant stability and security. Also, Felix should get a little more in the first couple years of the deal than he would have likely got in arbitration, but likely gets much less than the $20-$25 million he may have been able to demand as a 25-year-old free agent after the 2011 season.

Felix hardly killed his earning potential though. He's still getting paid a handsome sum, and now is on schedule to hit free agency at 28 years old. That's still plenty young enough to reach the CC Sabathia free agent stratosphere.

What I love about this deal most is that it is another sign that the Mariners front office is amazing. The silence has largely been deafening on the Felix front, which concerned me, and most interested observers. All we ever heard from the front office was that they were talking to Felix and his representatives, and that talks were going well. We heard the same from Felix's side, and that there was little urgency because both sides wanted a deal to happen.

Jack Zdureincik and friends play it close to the vest, but they don't use smoke and mirrors. Clearly, the few bits and pieces we got were the truth.

This team is making a habit of honest, amicable negotiations while maintaining their bargaining leverage. This offseason has featured good deals struck for Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, and now King Felix. On the trade front, remarkable deals brought in Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley. Simply put, this front office knows how to work the system not just to their advantage, but to everyone's advantage. The M's front office is creating a culture where players and teams want to talk to them.

Any day a guy like Felix Hernandez is locked up long-term is a great day in Mariners history. The way this deal happened gives me yet another reason to think days like this aren't numbered either.