Hernandez will turn 27 on April 8 and still be just 33 when he enters the final season of this new contract in 2019. He is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight seasons with the Mariners, a record that would be far better if he didn't pitch for the worst offensive team in baseball each of the last three seasons.
But Hernandez said he can see the potential in what the Mariners have put together. Now Seattle's challenge is doing what it can to ensure Hernandez gets to pitch on the biggest stage — the postseason.
"I think this officially quiets the whispers. We were committed to keeping him here a long time," Zduriencik said. "He's a young, talented guy. We all recognize that. The best thing I can say: He's ours. He's ours and we kept him."
NOTE: The Mariners acquired minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte from the New York Yankees for right-hander Shawn Kelley. Almonte, 23, batted .276 with four homers, 25 RBIs and 30 steals in 78 games for Double-A Trenton last season. He was an Eastern League midseason All-Star. Kelly was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Feb. 7 when the club signed catcher Kelly Shoppach.
AP freelance writer Jose Romero in Peoria, Ariz., contributed to this report.
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