It’s that time of the season… we are after the All-Star break, the Mariners are 16.5 games back… One little bit of excitement and/or more likely than not, disappointment, for us nwsportsjunkies is the Hot Stove… MLB Trade Rumors! Who is leaving, who is staying… Which veteran can we unload to a contender, and what prospects can we get in return? Todays post will focus on one player, Felix Hernandez.
A Kings Ransom: The first, and most debated Mariners trade rumor, as it has been for the last few years is Felix Hernandez. Felix is arguably the most valuable pitcher in baseball when taken into account his proven dominance, age, and years left on his contract. You could make an argument for other pitchers who come up in trade rumors such as Cole Hammels, but while he may be somewhat comparable in skill, he will be a free agent at the end of the season. So in other words, a team would have to either give up a ton for one stretch run with him and hope he can be the difference maker for them in the playoffs, or hope to negotiate an extension. This is where the value of Felix goes up, he is under a reasonable contract through the 2014 season, so any team that acquires him would have the King for a minimum of 3 playoff runs. Some of the offers rumored to have been offered to the Mariners include some pretty big names such as; Robinson Cano, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jurickson Profar, Wil Meyers, and Manny Machado to point out a few.
“He ain’t going anywhere … He’s staying right here. Who’s going to give me what I’d need to get for him? You’re always going to be looking for him if you don’t have him. We’re going to enjoy Felix Hernandez in a Mariners uniform. We love him. And he loves the Mariners … When you have the best or near the best, why would you want to trade him? I’m just not in the mood to trade Felix Hernandez.” – Jack Zduriencik
Lets take a look at some of the eye-popping numbers Felix has amassed since he began with the Mariners in 2005.
- All Star in 2009, 2011, 2012 – interesting note – Hernandez was not selected to the AL All Star team in 2010 (Ichiro and Cliff Lee) however that’s the season Felix won the Cy Young Award. He had a 6-5 record with a 3.03era at the break.
- 2010 Cy Young Award
- 2010 Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year
- International Record 2-0, 0.00 era for Venezuela in 2009 World Baseball Classic
- Led AL in Wins – 2009 (19)
- Led AL in ERA – 2010 (2.27)
- 8/4/2005 – At age 19 and 118 days Felix became the youngest pitcher to appear in the Major Leagues since 1984 (Jose Rijo)
- Opening Day 2007 – Felix becomes the youngest opening day starter since 1985 (Dwight Gooden)
- 6/17/2008 – Felix becomes 13th Pitcher in history of American League to throw “Immaculate Inning” (Strikeout the side with exactly 9 pitches)
- 6/23/2010 – Felix strikes out 4 batters in 1 inning! One batter struck out swinging on a wild pitch and reached 1st safely.
- 8/25/2010 – Felix becomes the 4th youngest Pitcher to reach 1,000 Strikeouts
- 2012 – Felix currently leads all MLB with 143 Strikeouts (As of date of story)
The thing I think is most laughable about the Felix trade rumors is how mad the Big $ teams are that we won’t trade him. Jack Zduriencik says he repeatedly receives calls from other teams just checking in to see if Felix is available yet. National media story’s make ridiculous statements like ‘The Mariners wont be able to keep him forever so they might as well trade him.’ It seems to really spurn the big boys (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies… etc) that the lowly Mariners have the most valuable young pitcher in baseball and that they can’t pry him away. Check out any of the major sports news websites and I bet somewhere in the MLB trade rumors story there is a picture of Felix. Jack Z, thankfully has made it loud and clear that Felix is not available. But that doesn’t mean that teams will stop trying, which means Felix trade rumors will not go away. Jack would not want to be remembered as the guy who traded away Felix Hernandez. And then there is the most important factor… Felix actually WANTS to be a Mariner. Here is a quote from mlb.com from Felix at this years All Star game…
“I like Seattle and I want to help the Seattle Mariners win a World Series,”
“I believe in the organization. I believe we’re going in the
right direction. We’ll be better.” – Felix Hernandez
What sounds better than that to a nwsportsjunkie? A superstar that wants to be in Seattle. I’m not sure about the believing in the organization thing, what I believe is that the Mariners are fully aware that they have ridden the Ichiro train to the end of the line and he can no longer be enough to bring fans to the stadium. The Mariners actually had a surplus of Ichiro bobbleheads this year which is rather symbolic. I remember in years past lines forming 3 hours early and single file fans wrapping around SODO in hopes to be one of the first 20k fans. The fans don’t care about Ichiro and we don’t care about stupid bobbleheads. The Mariners know that Felix is now the cash cow, which is evident by the appearance of the “Kings Court.” They designate 2-4 sections in the left field corner of each of Felix’s starts and hand out King Felix T-shirts and “K” cards. I’ve sat in Kings Court, it was pretty cool, I got a discounted ticket and a free shirt… I’m way to sophisticated for a bobblehead but a sucker for a free T-shirt. The Mariners are enjoying the Love the King gets, as their average attendance this year of 21,307 rises to an average of 25,616 on days he is pitching. They say 1 player wont have an effect on attendance, but that’s a 17% increase in attendance so… #’s never lie.
Another factor in my support of not trading Felix is the Cliff Lee trade. That one still burns a little bit. We already have traded an Ace for a group of young prospects including the 2009 4th ranked prospect in all of baseball, a power bat who is a switch hitter and #1 position prospect in the Texas Rangers farm system… Justin Smoak (currently batting .198.)
And then there is the Michael Pineda trade. Dont give me the excuse that he got injured so we got the better deal, that’s loser talk… and you aren’t a loser are you? Lets be serious, we traded a pitching phenom, who still has a bright career ahead of him, because we needed to find a bat. So we sent rookie All Star Pineda to the evil empire for prized Catching prospect Jesus Montero. The catching prospect that all of baseball was talking about. #1 catching prospect, 9th overall prospect in 2011. Montero gave the world a little taste of his abilities with a 2011 September call up with the Yankees and he didn’t disappoint. In 18 games for NY Montero posted a .328 average, 4 HR, 12 rbi. Frustratingly, Montero has not matched those numbers through 78 games with the Mariners .255, 8 HR, 32 rbi… hardly the big slugger we thought we had finally landed.
Thats 2 years in a row we have traded an Ace caliber pitcher for a Top 10 prospect hitter that frustrates the shit out of every Mariner fan sober enough to notice them striking out again. We can’t make that mistake 3 years in a row by trading Felix, regardless of what is offered. So even though the Mariners could demand A Kings Ransom in return for trading our Ace, I don’t want to see it happen, Felix doesn’t want it to happen, and according to Z, the Mariners don’t want it to happen! So to all the east coast biased bloggers, analysts, authors, tweeters and the such… Piss off! The King is a Mariner and you’re gonna have to get over it. He doesn’t want to go, and we don’t want him to go. Feel free to stop putting his name and photo in every trade rumor article you write… it really makes you guys look pathetic.
- The Frustration Grows (Even More…) (nwsportsjunkies.com)
- Mariners Youth Excuse Grows Old (nwsportsjunkies.com)