Felix Hernandez officially signs his 7-year contract extension with the Mariners.
by Curtis Crabtree
Safeco Field - Felix Hernandez has no desire to play for any team other than the Seattle Mariners.
His commitment to Seattle and the Mariners organization was plainly evident on Wednesday as he choked up moments after putting pen to paper to officially sign his new 7-year contract.
Hernandez was greeted as he walked off the elevator by a large contingent of the Mariners front office. A group of at least 50, all clad in yellow King Felix T-shirts, surprised Hernandez in cheering him as he exited the elevator. It caught Hernandez off-guard and he began to get choked up before briefly addressing the crowd.
He then got emotional again as he began to speak during his press conference about what it means to him to accept an extension with the Mariners and remain in Seattle.
"To the people in Seattle, to all the people in Seattle that trust me, that believe in me I will not disappoint anybody," Hernandez said, his voice cracking.
The deal Hernandez signed Wednesday has been reported to be worth $175 million over seven years and also contains a full no-trade clause. The no-trade clause is somewhat unnecessary because Hernandez would have earned that in another two years anyway with 10-5 rights. A player that has spent 10 years in the league and the last five with the same team automatically earns a no-trade clause.
Once he got past the initial emotions of the moment, Hernandez was beyond excited that he will be in Seattle for the forseeable future.
"I'm not going to disappoint anybody," Hernandez said. "I will do my best - more than my best - to get to the playoffs. We're going to make the playoffs. We've got a lot of talent, and we're going to be one of the toughest teams in this league. This is awesome. I'm shaking right now. I don't know what to say."
He also joked with general manager Jack Zduriencik that they should already begin working on his next contract extension.
The Mariners also made another roster move on Wednesday. The team traded right-handed pitcher Shawn Kelley to the New York Yankees for minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte.
Kelley had been designated for assignment by Seattle last Thursday when the team signed catcher Kelly Shoppach.
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