Felix Hernandez agreed to a 7 year, ($175) million contract extension with the Mariners
Born April 8, 1986: Felix Abraham Hernandez Garca, nicknamed "King Felix", is a Valencia Venezuelan right-handed starting pitcher. He was winning in the big leagues as a teenager and competing for the Cy Young Award at 23. Felix is expected to give the M's their money's worth as the proud owner of one of the game's fattest contracts.
Hernandez throws a fastball between 92-95 mph, he often uses a two-seam fastball, which comes in just a bit slower but with more movement and sink as it approaches the batter. His collection of pitches also includes a hard curve, a power change-up, and a slider, he throws these pitches with much control. When at his best, Hernandez can induce a steady flow of batters hitting groundball outs and strikeouts, with very few balls being hit in the air.
On August 15, 2012, he threw the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 1-0 victory at Safeco Field. His father owned a small trucking company. Everyone in the family worked hard to make the business a success.
The Hernandez family lived a comfortable, middle-class existence in Valencia. In his day, Felix Sr. had been a very good player.
As a boy, hiss idol was Freddy Garcia, a fellow Venezuelan. Garcia had first made headlines in the mid-1990s when he signed with the Houston Astros.
By age 14, Felix was throwing the ball across the plate at 90 mph. His first major unveiling took place at a baseball tournament in Maracaibo, where scouts had him on the gun as a high as 94. The race was on to sign him.
Luis Fuenmayor, for the Mariners, immediately alerted full-time Seattle scouts Pedro Avila and Emilio Carrasquel. They had to wait almost two years before Felix was eligible to sign a pro contract.
By the time Felix turned 16, the Mariners signed him in the summer of 2002 for $710,000. Other teams including the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Astros had wanted Felix, too. Atlanta actually topped Seattle's bonus offer. But Felix's father wanted him to go toward the Mariners.
After farm teams, Felix was called up to the Mariners in early August for his long and comming, major league debut. The team knew his fastball was major-league ready. Felix pitched well in his first game, but lost, and then won his next game with eight innings of shutout ball against the Minnesota Twins. At one point, he faced more than 100 hitters without allowing an extra base hit. Felix threw 84 1/3 innings for the Mariners as a rookie, splitting eight decisions and striking out 77 with an ERA of 2.67. In 2009, The Mariners avoided arbitration with Felix and gave him a one year, $3.8 million deal.
After Felix posted a couple of not so good starts in May, new manager Don Wakamatsu put pressure on Felix publicly that he needed to step up if he were to be considered an ace. Felix lost only two more games in 2009. He finished 19'5 with 217 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA. He also played in his first All-Star Game, hurling a hitless inning.