Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Hernandez signs $175M contract BASEBALL
nSeattle star becomes game's highest-paid pitcher, also receives first full no-trade clause ever given by franchise. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Fighting back tears while his hands trembled, Felix Hernandez signed a seven-year contract with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday that made him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.
Hernandez officially completed his new deal during a news conference. The $175 million pact covered the final two years of his existing deal that was scheduled to run through the 2014 season and added five additional years through the 2019 season.
The contract is fully guaranteed, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. Hernandez also got a full no-trade clause, the first one ever given by the franchise.
Hernandez's representative, Scotty Pucino, said the no-trade was among the most important aspects of the contract.
"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.
Hernandez was greeted by Mariners front-office staff all wearing yellow "Kings Court" T-shirts that have become a special section of the stadium for all of his starts. The 26-year-old ace immediately got choked up and repeatedly said he didn't want to let down the only organization he's ever played for.
Word of Hernandez and the Mariners working on the mega-contract first leaked late last week. Reportedly, a medical exam revealed some concerns about Hernandez's elbow in the future, but Zduriencik said Hernandez got a "clear bill of health" from Mariners physicians before finalizing the deal.
"When you invest you ask yourself, 'What are you investing in?' " Zduriencik said. "This is our guy, we know him better than anybody. When you have that right in front of you, those are the types of marriages you want to have."
Hernandez's total dollars would top CC Sabathia's original $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees. The $25 million-a-year average would surpass Zack Greinke's $24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and tie him for the second-highest contract overall in baseball with Josh Hamilton and Ryan Howard behind Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million). Hernandez's new money would average $26.9 million over five years.
Bonds appeal: A lawyer for Barry Bonds urged a federal appeals court on Wednesday to toss out the slugger's obstruction of justice conviction, saying a rambling answer he gave while testifying before a grand jury was not a crime.
Appellate specialist Dennis Riordan argued that Bonds was not formally or specifically charged with the felony that he was convicted of committing. A federal jury in April 2011 found baseball's all-time home runs leader guilty of obstruction for saying he was a "celebrity child" when asked about injecting steroids.
Bonds and his legal team are asking a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the lone felony conviction stemming from Bonds' 2½ hours of testimony in December 2003 before a grand jury investigating performance enhancing drug use and sales among elite athletes.
If Bonds' conviction is upheld, he will have to serve 30 days house arrest.
Pirates add Inge: The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed infielder Brandon Inge.
Inge, who played catcher, infield and outfield for the Detroit Tigers, agreed to a minor league contract on Wednesday and received in invitation to spring training.
Inge, 35, was released by Detroit after just nine games last season, and was signed by Oakland. He hit .226 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 74 games for the Athletics, as they advanced to the postseason.
Tribe signs Matsuzaka: Daisuke Matsuzaka has officially joined the revitalized Cleveland Indians.
The Japanese right-hander, limited to just 18 starts the past two seasons because of elbow issues, signed a minor-league contract Wednesday. The 32-year-old is being reunited with manager Terry Francona, beginning his first season with the Indians. The two spent several seasons together with the Boston Red Sox.
Matsuzaka will compete to win a spot in Cleveland's rotation. If he's added to the 40-man roster, Matsuzaka will make $1.5 million this season. He can earn an additional $2.5 million in performance bonuses.
Matsuzaka went 50-37 in six seasons with the Red Sox, who signed him to a $52 million contract in 2007. He went a combined 33-15 in his first two seasons, but is only 17-22 since 2008. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 2011.
Kelley to Yankees: The New York Yankees have added depth to their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Shawn Kelley from the Seattle Mariners for minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte.
The 28-year-old Kelley went 2-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 47 appearances for Seattle last season and figures to fill a middle-relief role with the Yankees. He was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Feb. 7 when the club signed catcher Kelly Shoppach.
Rivera plans announcement: New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he's reached a decision on whether this will be his final season and plans to announce it before opening day.
Baseball's career saves leader had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury that occurred while he was shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.
The 43-year-old right-hander expects to be ready for the regular season. He threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound and said it felt good.