Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the club has signed right-handed starting pitcher Felix Hernandez to a new, seven-year contract, the longest in franchise history. The new deal, which will carry Hernandez through the 2019 season, replaces his existing contract which had two years remaining. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"Felix is committed to this franchise, and to the city of Seattle, and is a key part of what we are building here," Zduriencik said. "As we take necessary steps to reach the next level as a team, Felix will be a key component. We have had a plan since I arrived in Seattle: to build this organization to play at a championship level on a consistent basis. As I have said before, when we get to that level we will need, and want a pitcher, and a person, like Felix. As I have said to Felix, 'you are a great pitcher, but even a better person'. I know that this city, our fans and this organization share together in this historic signing."
Hernandez, who will turn 27 on April 8, led the American League in shutouts (5), ranked 2nd in innings pitched (232.0) and complete games (5), was 3rd in strikeouts (223) and T5th in quality starts (21) while posting a 13-9, 3.06 mark in 2012. He threw the 23rd perfect game in MLB history on Aug. 15 vs. Tampa Bay, just the 7th perfect game to be decided by a 1-0 score. Felix was selected to the AL All-Star Team for the third time, and voted Seattle's Most Valuable Pitcher by the Seattle chapter of the BBWAA for the fifth consecutive season.
"I have always told anyone who asks me, Seattle is where I want to be," Hernandez said. "I love it here, and my family loves it here. My teammates are great and the team is going in the right direction. The fans are always great to me; lots of support at the ballpark and away from the field. I am looking forward to being even more involved in the community over the next seven years, and hopefully longer."
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Hernandez has played a large role in the community. Hernandez has twice been a finalist for MLB's prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
Over the years, Hernandez has visited hundreds of children at local hospitals and has granted wishes and entertained kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He helped promote the Run of Hope fundraiser for Seattle Children's Hospital and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund. He has been the face of the Mariners and Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence groundbreaking Refuse to Abuse campaign and has participated in a program that provides coaches throughout the region with skills they need to mentor young male athletes and teach non-violence and responsibility.
Hernandez is active with The Edgar and Holli Martinez Foundation, a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen our communities by providing under-served populations with educational opportunities. He is an advocate for the Humane Society of Seattle/King County and has participated in a public service campaign and supported fundraising events. Over his career, Hernandez has supported numerous other local charities and non-profit organizations in the Pacific Northwest, including: Esperanza, South Park Community Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Special Olympics of Washington, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The 2012 season was Hernandez' fourth consecutive campaign with 200.0 innings, 200 strikeouts, 30 starts and a sub 3.50 ERA. He is the first pitcher in Mariners history with four consecutive 200.0 IP/200 SO seasons, and only Randy Johnson (5) has more consecutive 200 strikeout seasons with Seattle.
Felix was 9-0 with a 1.08 ERA (17 ER / 109.0 IP) and 5 shutouts, 100 strikeouts and a .183 opponent batting average against over a 14-start stretch June 17-Aug. 27. The 9-game winning streak tied his career high. He went 4-0, 1.08 (5 ER / 14.2 IP) with 3 shutouts (all 1-0 wins) in five August starts, earning AL Pitcher of the Month honors.
Hernandez has spent his entire pro career in the Mariners organization. He originally signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 4, 2002 at the age of 16. Hernandez debuted in the Majors in August, 2005, at the age of 19. In his Major League career he is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in 238 starts.
Since making his MLB debut in 2005, ranks second with 1,487 strikeouts and 1,620.1 innings pitched. He's made 238 career starts, all with the Mariners and is one of only four active pitchers with 200+ career starts whose starts have all been with one club (also: Matt Cain, SF, 235; Ervin Santana, LAA, 233; Justin Verlander, DET, 232). Hernandez has a combined record of 59-40 with a 2.81 ERA (298 ER / 954.0 IP) and 894 strikeouts in 134 starts since the beginning of the 2009 season (last four seasons).
Felix and his wife, Sandra, reside in Bellevue, Wash., with their daughter, Mia and son, Jeremy. He is a native of Valencia, Venezuela, and returns home each off-season.