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Mariners trying to lock up Hernandez

Mariners, Hernandez discuss long-term deal

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners have approached right-hander Felix Hernandez about signing a multiyear contract, his agent said Saturday.

The 21-year-old Hernandez, who pitched two scoreless innings against the Padres in Saturday's Cactus League game at Peoria Stadium, reached agreement on a one-year contract after the outing, becoming the last player on the 40-man roster to be under contract for the 2008 season.

The Mariners had imposed a Sunday noon deadline to get a deal done, or they would've renewed Hernandez's '07 contract. Hernandez had his '06 contract renewed on March 2 last year for $420,000 -- an $80,000 raise. Financial terms of the latest one-year deal were not announced, but he probably received a hefty pay hike again after posting a 13-7 record and 3.92 ERA in 30 starts last season.

"We have been concentrating on a contract for 2008," agent Wil Polidor said from Florida, but the Mariners "said they want to talk about a long-term deal. We're willing to listen. Maybe something can be worked out."

Polidor said he would arrive in Arizona early Sunday morning and meet with Mariners club officials at the team's offices in Peoria, adding that he would remain in Arizona for two weeks, presumably to work on a multiyear deal for the right-hander who becomes salary-arbitration eligible after the season.

"They proposed a long-term deal and we're waiting for them to make an offer," he said.

Lee Pelekoudas, the Mariners' assistant general manager, said it is against club policy "to discuss what our contract discussions may or may not be. If that's what [Polidor] says, that's what he says, but we don't discuss what our contract situations are.

"All I can tell you is that we have agreed with Felix on a one-year contract."

The Mariners have a recent history of signing their best, young players to multiyear deals. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt received a three-contract extension with a one-year option on April 4 last year and second baseman Jose Lopez signed a four-year, $6.07 million extension on April 18.

"We like to wrap up our best young players, like we did with Lopez and Betancourt last year," Pelekoudas said. "Most clubs do that. You have seen the Indians do it and the Angels do it.

"But it has to be a two-way street. The player needs to have interest as well as the club."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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