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Mariners' $175M Felix Hernandez Deal Held Up Over Elbow

By Andrew Lu on February 11, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez appeared set to sign a record-setting $175 million contract extension.

However, concerns over his elbow may potentially derail the deal, reports ESPN.

The framework for the seven-year, $175 million deal was all in place and it was reported as virtually done. However, it now is being reported that the two sides are "not close" to finishing the extension given issues with Hernandez's elbow.

With the amount at stake, who can blame the Seattle Mariners for being overly cautious?

If the contract is signed, Hernandez stands to get paid regardless of how many games he wins, or even how many games he plays in. While this may not seem fair, this is the whole purpose of having signing a contract in the first place -- the security of getting paid or acquiring the services of a particular player. With the contract, Hernandez agrees to stay with his current team (as opposing to going somewhere with more exposure), and in exchange the Mariners get a franchise player they can market.

Given the investment that baseball teams make in players, they perform all kinds of research including reviewing medical reports and having doctors evaluate the players before signing them to these mega-deals.

For example, so far this winter, the Boston Red Sox tore up a proposed three-year, $39 million deal with catcher Mike Napoli over health concerns, reports ESPN. In addition, the Chicago Cubs nixed a deal to send Carlos Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren over similar health concerns.

So how can a team truly protect itself while also getting the player they want? Some teams negotiate medical exceptions into their contracts. So if the player goes down with a catastrophic injury or retires due to injury, the team could conceivably void the deal. In addition, most teams purchase insurance on their player contracts. The insurance company would have to pay the balance of the contract in certain scenarios.

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