Big League Stew - MLB

Thanks to the handiwork of general manager Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners continue having their best offseason since Major League Baseball awarded Seattle an expansion team for 1977.

We're talking disco-quality joy in Seattle, greater than that coming from the likes of Ruppert Jones, Larry Milbourne, Julio Cruz, the whole gang.

An "unnamed source with direct knowledge of the talks" told ESPN's Keith Law on Monday night that the M's had worked out a multi-year deal with ace right-hander Felix Hernandez(notes).

On Tuesday, SI's Jon Heyman confirmed the deal and added the nugget that it's good for five years, which will keep the M's cornerstone safe from poachers like the Yankees and Red Sox. Buster Olney adds in a tweet that King Felix will take home about
$80 million. 

Hernandez, who turns 24 in April, was scheduled for arbitration this week and then — after the 2010 season — free agency. A year ago, and even more recently, the word on the street was the M's would be trading Felix.

Not now, not with Zduriencik locking him up for the first four years of free agency.

The news has immediately inspired Mariners blog Lookout Landing to declare Tuesday in Seattle to be "Wear Your Felix Jersey (Or Shirt) Day."

You know, Felix jersey on top, pants on the ground.

Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of SI tweeted the M's and King Felix were making progress on a five- or six-year deal. At the winter meetings in Indianapolis, Heyman wrote that Hernandez's representatives wanted something around $100 million for King Felix, who finished second in the AL Cy Young balloting to Zack Greinke(notes) in '09.

Good for Felix, who is 58-41 since breaking in as a 19-year-old in 2005.

Even better for Zduriencik, who is molding the M's into a new power in the AL West. If he doesn't already, Zduriencik should do an "Air Z" like Zorro after he completes every transaction.

This offseason, the M's also have:

• Signed free-agent Chone Figgins(notes)

• Traded prospects for left-hander Cliff Lee(notes)

• Traded bloated pitcher Carlos Silva(notes) for goated outfielder Milton Bradley(notes)

The M's probably will be favored to unseat the Angels atop the division, but if someone awarded a championship for offseason work, then the Mariners win! Get that team a T-shirt!

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