Felix Hernandez is an incredible pitcher. I'd take Clayton Kershaw over him, sure, and maybe Matt Cain. Other than that, though, Felix might be the most valuable pitcher in the game today.
That being said, he's not worth 7 years and $25 million a year. No pitcher is (or, I should say, was), unless he is vintage Pedro or Maddux. Unfortunately (for the Mariners), that's exactly what's about to happen.
What baffles me isn't the amount of money on an annual basis. Hernandez is a demonstrably better pitcher than Zack Greinke, who has an AAV of $24.5 million. What baffles me is the timing: Felix had 2 years left before he was slated to be a free agent. The Mariners are agreeing to take on an insane amount of risk with absolutely no compensation. If the Mariners got a hometown discount on Hernandez, I shudder to think what his fair-market value is.
Here's a thought experiment for you. Take 10 pitchers at random. How many of them have not missed a start to injury in the past 7 years? Statistically, probably 2? 1? Catastrophic injuries happen to pitchers all the time, lesser injuries to almost every pitcher. Hernandez already has 1620 major league under his belt. I'd wager the probability that the Mariners get a positive ROI with Hernandez is around 5%.
They aren't even in contention right now! The mind boggles.
What this does mean is that the market for Bourn probably just shrunk by one team (unless the Mariners are really stepping it up to compete this year). That's a good thing for the Cubs. Chicago doesn't have a great chance at Bourn, but it grows nearly every day…