Seattle Mariners and Ace Felix Hernandez: What to Do With King Felix?
Sunday June 24th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: As the Mariners continue to grind away at the bottom of the American League West, many wonder: should they trade Felix Hernandez? With Felix, the Mariners have one of the best starting pitchers in the league, as he’s already pitched in eight seasons by the age of 26. 2010 was his best season, when he won his first Cy Young even though the Mariners struggled and were below .500. Felix has yet to enter his prime and is most likely at the height of his trade value. If the Mariners want to get the most possible out of this ace, they would have to act now. But would the Mariners even dare to trade such a prize?
In my opinion: No. The Mariners are at the brink of contention with Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak ready to make an impact and start getting Felix that much-needed run support, and a ton of pitching ready to come up from the minors. First is Danny Hultzen, whom the Mariners drafted second overall last year behind Gerrit Cole. Hultzen, a hard-throwing left-hander will at one point in his career anchor a pitching staff. Next is Taijuan Walker. Walker just recently became hyped as he was just selected to the Futures Game. Walker has a plus fastball and has drawn some comparisons to Hernandez himself. Walker is just about equal to Hultzen in terms of readiness for the Majors, as he has spent all of this season in Double-A.
With these two rising stars, Mariners fans can look forward to a contending team in the next few years. The newly drafted catcher Mike Zunino along with Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Kyle Seager will hopefully produce a good amount of offense to bolster the solid pitching staff of Felix Hernandez backed up by Hultzen, Walker, and Vargas, along with lesser pitchers like Blake Beavan or Hector Noesi. With all of these possibilities and almost-ready stars in the minors, what would be the point of giving up Hernandez in order to get another prospect(s)?
The only way the Mariners would trade Hernandez would be to get a big bat. For a guy like Hernandez, the Mariners would need to get a mature, near-ready bat. This would be similar to what the Mariners did with Michael Pineda to get Jesus Montero, but for a proven star like Hernandez, the Mariners might need to ask for a franchise player like a Buster Posey or a Mike Trout. If I were General Manager Jack Zduriencik, this would be the only way I would trade Hernandez. The only way another team would agree to this is if they were in extreme need of a superstar, or if they had enough money to pay off the Mariners (maybe the Yankees?)
Before his Cy Young 2010 season, Hernandez signed a 5-year contract extension worth $78 million. Besides doing this, in an interview with Harold Reynolds, Hernandez said he had no notions of ever leaving the Mariners. This is about as clear as he could be that there was no way he would want to leave Seattle. Also, if the Mariners traded Hernandez, they would have to deal with a large drop in attendance, as Safeco Field is the host of Felix’s “King’s Court”, a section strictly devoted to Hernandez. This section has been called the best section in baseball and provides a party-like atmosphere.
Although I might be biased because Felix Hernandez is one of my favorite players, I don’t see any way that the Mariners trade him. Even with his price tag and the Mariners so far out of contention, this just doesn’t seem logical to me when a winning season could be just around the corner. Just ask the Baltimore Orioles what that feels like.
***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, MLB reports Intern & Facebook Admin. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***
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Posted on June 24, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged ace, baseball, danny hultzen, Dustin Ackley, felix hernandez, hector noesi, justin smoak, king felix, mlb, pitcher, seattle mariners, taijuan walker. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.