PEORIA, Ariz. — Felix Hernandez and Seattle reached agreement Tuesday on a contract expected to make the Mariners’ ace the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.
“I think it’s a great thing for the Seattle Mariners,” General Manager Jack Zduriencik said. “It’s a great thing for Felix Hernandez, and I’m looking forward to this guy being here for a very long time, obviously.”
Hernandez’s deal is expected to be for $175 million over seven years.
The new contract will encompass the final two years of his current deal that is scheduled to pay Hernandez a total of $40.5 million for 2013 and 2014. He’ll receive $134.5 million over the additional five years.
NATIONALS: Pitcher Gio Gonzalez arrived at spring training and maintained he hasn’t used performance-enhancing drugs.
The Miami New Times reported last month that Gonzalez was among a half-dozen major league players listed as receiving PEDs in purported records of Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. Gonzalez said he hopes to be exonerated.
REDS: Third baseman Scott Rolen declined the team’s offer to attend spring training, but stopped short of saying he’s ready to retire.
Rolen, who turns 38 on April 4, had been mulling an offer to fill a reserve role with the team.
• Right-hander Mat Latos agreed to an $11.5 million, two-year contract, avoiding what would have been baseball’s first salary arbitration hearing of the year.
ATHLETICS: Left-hander Hideki Okajima finalized a minor league contract after passing a physical and immediately got to work.
Okajima played last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League, going 0-2 with a 0.94 ERA and nine saves in 56 relief appearances. He allowed one home run and walked six in 472/3 innings.
METS: Closer Frank Francisco is bothered by the same elbow inflammation that ended his 2012 season on Sept. 16.
Manager Terry Collins said Bobby Parnell and Brandon Lyon will be given the first chance to take over the closer’s job.
YANKEES: Third baseman Alex Rodriguez won’t report to spring training with the position players and will work on his rehabilitation from hip surgery in New York.
Rodriguez is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following the Jan. 16 operation.
ROYALS: Kansas City acquired utility player Elliott Johnson from Tampa Bay as the player to be named in the Dec. 9 trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City for top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, with two other minor leaguers.
The switch-hitting Johnson, 29, batted .242 with 10 doubles, six homers, 33 RBI and 18 steals last year with the Rays. He started 68 games at shortstop, and also played second, third and the outfield.
DIAMONDBACKS: Didi Gregorius, considered the team’s shortstop of the future, has a right elbow injury that has prevented him from throwing or batting for the past month.
Gregorius felt discomfort while working out a month ago.