From Comcast SportsNetSEATTLE (AP) -- Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners are working on a 175 million, seven-year contract that would make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, according to a person with knowledge of the deal's details.The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been completed. USA Today first reported the deal.Seattle would add 134.5 million of guaranteed money over five years to the contract of the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, whose current agreement calls for him to receive 40.5 million over the next two seasons.Hernandez's total dollars would top CC Sabathia's original 161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees and his 25 million average would surpass Zack Greinke's 24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and tie him for the second-highest in baseball with Josh Hamilton and Ryan Howard behind Alex Rodriguez (27.5 million). Hernandez's new money would average 26.9 million over five years.Hernandez agreed to a 78 million, five-year contract in January 2010 and has earned an additional 2.5 million in escalators and 300,000 in bonuses. He is due 20 million this year and 20.5 million in 2014, which would be superseded by the new deal.Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said he could not comment when reached on Thursday, and Hernandez's representatives didn't immediately return messages.If the deal is finalized, it would leave Detroit's Justin Verlander and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw as the most attractive pitchers eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Tampa Bay's David Price is eligible after the 2015 season.Hernandez has become the face of Seattle's struggling franchise, transforming from a curly haired 19-year-old who wore his hat crooked to one of the most dominant and exciting pitchers in baseball. Known as "King Felix," he became the first Seattle pitcher to throw a perfect game in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay last August.His fiery enthusiasm on the mound and his willingness to first sign a long-term deal in 2010 have endeared him to fans in the Pacific Northwest who have gone more than a decade without seeing postseason baseball.Hernandez, who will turn 27 on April 8, is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight seasons with the Mariners. He won a career-high 19 games in 2009 when he finished second in the Cy Young voting then won the award a year later when he went just 13-12 but had a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts.Hernandez appeared to be making another Cy Young push last year before going 0-4 in his last six starts, which left him at 13-9 with 223 strikeouts.His career record would be even better if he didn't play with one of baseball's worst offenses. Seattle had the lowest batting average in the major leagues in each of the last three seasons. Hernandez has taken 10 losses during that span when he's given up two earned runs or less.For his career, Hernandez has allowed two earned runs or less in 141 of 238 starts, but the team is only 99-42 in those games due to the offensive problems.Locking up Hernandez long-term won't solve all of the problems that have left Seattle looking up at Texas, Oakland and the Los Angeles Angles in the AL West for most of the last 10 years. The Mariners have tried to address some of those issues this offseason by trading for Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse to provide more punch to go along with young prospects Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero, who have all shown flashes early in their careers.But should the deal be finalized, the Mariners at least have the security of knowing who'll be at the top of their rotation for most of this decade.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.
*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.
*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?
*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.
*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.
*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.
*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.
WALTHAM, Mass. – For most of training camp, R.J. Hunter and James Young have played it cool when asked about their shaky status with the Celtics heading into this season.
Both have talked about not letting it affect their friendship, which according to multiple team sources, is true.
But when it comes to the pressure of having your basketball future thrown into total chaos within the next 48-72 hours, that’s a different story.
Prior to practice Friday, Danny Ainge – the man who will decide their basketball fate – spent time talking with each of them on the sidelines, doing his best to keep their spirits up at a time of uncertainty.
The Celtics have a number of players whose basketball futures were in a similar state of limbo.
Amir Johnson was taken in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons with the 56th overall pick.
It was a veteran team that afforded Johnson few opportunities to prove his worth.
“All I tried to do was learn as much as I could in training camp, and pick up things as quickly as possible,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “When you’re a second round pick or undrafted, you have to do all you can to make a good impression.”
Isaiah Thomas echoed similar sentiments.
Thomas was the 60th pick – the last player selected – in the 2011 NBA draft, putting the odds of him just making an NBA roster slim to none.
Since then, he has become an All-Star who is easily the best player ever selected at that point in an NBA draft.
But like Hunter and Young, the pressure of not necessarily knowing your basketball fate can be worrisome.
“It’s tough not knowing, but at the end of the day all you can do is be the best at whatever they ask of you,” Thomas told CSNNE.com. “If it’s running a play, run that play the best way you know how. If it’s going to get a cup of water, be the best at getting that cup a water. It’s all about leaving your all out there. If you do that, you can live with the results because at that point, you did all you can do.”
Outwardly, both Hunter and Young have adopted that approach to the training camp which they knew going in would likely end with one of them being waived or traded.
And while each has shown noticeable growth through training camp, neither has done enough to separate themselves good or bad.
Most of Hunter’s bright moments have been balanced with struggles or inconsistencies.
Ditto for Young, who is headed into his third NBA season, while this will be Hunter’s second.
Ainge, the C's president of basketball operations, does not take the decision he and his front office has to make lightly. He is more than aware that the player he waives could potentially turn out to be a better pro than the one he keeps.
And this decision could potentially come back and haunt the Celtics if he doesn’t get it right.
As much as we talk about the players feeling pressure, Ainge and his staff are under a bit of pressure too when you consider both Hunter and Young were players he picked in the first round of their drafts.
And both players at the time were considered draft-night steals because each had been projected to go higher than where the Celtics picked them.
But at this point, neither has made a significant impact in the NBA, which is why both are on the cusp of being waived.
That said, they have done enough to where those flashes of strong play have given Ainge and his staff reason to pause and with that, make what all agree will be a well thought-out, difficult decision.
“Sometimes guys just cut themselves. Sometimes guys just win jobs, overwhelmingly win it,” Ainge said. “The guys that are in question have all played really well. I guess that’s refreshing. I’m happy for them that they are all playing well under the stress and pressure of trying to make a team and make a roster. I’m proud of all of them.
And when asked about having to cut a former first-round pick, Ainge responded, “there’s a lot of first-round picks that don’t make it in the NBA. So I feel confident, pretty comfortable that all of our guys are still going to be playing in the NBA.”