The Seattle Mariners made two transactions Thursday, including long-term commitment to one of the game's best pitchers.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez is about to sign a seven-year contract with the Mariners worth $175 million, making it the most lucrative contract for any pitcher, according to USA Today.
Hernandez, 26, had anchored the Mariners rotation since breaking into the league in 2005 at age 19. He went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA 2012, the seventh full season in which he's made at least 30 starts. His best season came in 2010, when he posted a 2.27 ERA and won the American League Cy Young Award.
Also, the Mariners officially announced that they have signed free-agent catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Shoppach played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets last season, appearing in 76 games. The righty batted .233 with eight home runs.
---Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling told ESPN Radio that teammates suggested performance-enhancing drugs as a way for him to continue pitching.
One of the most successful postseason pitchers of his era, Schilling pitched his final game in 2007 as a 41-year-old member of a World Series championship team. He re-signed for the 2008 season, but couldn't pitch because of right-shoulder trouble. He officially retired in 2009 with a 216-146 record and a 3.46 career ERA.
"At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in, in which it was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue," Schilling told ESPN Radio.
---New York Mets manager Terry Collins said that hopes ace Johan Santana will open the season April 1 against the San Diego Padres.
"My guess is that's what it'll be," Collins told ESPNNewYork.com. "He said he feels great, and he said the rest has really made a difference."
Also, reliever Brandon Lyon has agreed to a one-year deal with the Mets, according to the New York Daily News.
Lyon, 33, pitched for the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays last season, and posted a 3.10 ERA in 61 innings. The 11-year veteran earned $5.5 million in 2012.
---The Cleveland Indians avoided arbitration with Mike Aviles when they agreed to a two-year, $6 million deal with the infielder, the team announced. The contract includes a club option for 2015.
Aviles asked for $3.4 million through arbitration, while the Indians countered with $2.4 million. The two-year pact buys out his two remaining arbitration seasons.
---Former Montreal Expos outfielder Tim Raines heads a list of five people announced as inductees of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Raines will be joined in the Class of 2013 by former Toronto Blue Jay George Bell, former Expo and Blue Jay Rob Ducey, Vancouver baseball activist Nat Bailey and long-time Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek.
---The University of Illinois at Chicago will name its new baseball stadium for Yankees center fielder and alum Curtis Granderson, who donated a large sum to the school's athletic program.
Curtis Granderson Stadium will be the home of UIC's baseball team as well as Chicago's area youth, the school said.