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Source: Felix, Mariners close to new deal

Reported seven-year, $175 million pact would make Seattle ace highest-paid pitcher

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners and Felix Hernandez have been pursuing a contract extension and are close to a new deal, but a baseball source said Thursday that a report by USA Today that the right-hander has agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract is not accurate.

The Mariners have no announcement of a Hernandez contract extension planned at this time, according to a club spokesman.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that an anonymous source who was "familiar with the contract details" indicated a deal would be finalized before Spring Training that would make Hernandez the highest-paid pitcher in Major League history with an average annual contract value of $25 million.

Mariners pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp Tuesday in Peoria, Ariz.

Hernandez is already scheduled to make $19.5 million this coming season and $20 million in 2014 in the final two years of a five-year, $78 million contract he signed in 2010.

Nightengale's report said the new deal would replace the final two years of that contract and extend for another five years.

CC Sabathia of the Yankees currently has the largest overall contract for a pitcher, with a seven-year, $161 million deal he signed before the 2010 season. Zack Greinke signed the highest average annual value deal among pitchers at $24.5 million, having signed his six-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers in December.

Hernandez, 26, has been with the Mariners his entire career and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010. He pitched a perfect game last season while going 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 33 starts.

The three-time All-Star has pitched 200 or more innings in each of the past five seasons and has a career record of 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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