Look ahead a few years to the winter of 2011-12. Johan Santana's contract, which was a monster, is still in effect for a number of years. Having been signed as a 30 year old pitcher, the team is now somewhat regretting its length, as he's shown some injury troubles over the last couple years that might make him unlikely to make good on the last years of the contract.
Unfortunately, that's the way it works with free agent pitchers. They're inevitably older when they hit free agency the first time.
Not this player. In this instance, the player and the team have been fighting ever since winter/spring 2007, when he was the last player on the team to sign his agreement and watching the team sign middling talent to multi-year $12 million/year contracts while refusing to pay him an extra $200k on his contract--which was the team's right.
Now, he's going to make the team pay. Or whatever team he ends up with, that is. After all, this team has failed to sign any of the marquee names that came through over the past dozen years to long-term deals.
Felix Hernandez, by this point, is only 25 years old. He's already reached 84 wins by this tender age, and is well on his way to a hall of fame career. It took a couple seasons for him to truly establish dominance instead of "just" being above average from 19-21, when most pitchers his age are in the minors.
So, how much do you think the bidding might be for a 25 year old ace starter, who by this point is one of the top pitchers in all of MLB? Is 10 years, $240 million out of the realm of possibility?
Of course, he is a pitcher and he is insanely young. He could get hurt or just never reach his potential (he has a stubborn streak that's sometimes bordered on the uncoachable) and then all of this ends up being nonsense. I doubt it though.