The Seattle Mariners May Have To Trade Felix Hernandez

April 17, 2011 – 9:46 pm by Ryan Phillips

The Seattle Mariners have started the year 5-11 and a turnaround doesn’t look to be coming in the near future. With an inept offense and a pitching staff that currently ranks 25th in ERA (4.89) it could be a long season in the Pacific Northwest.

With that in mind, conventional wisdom would say that the Mariners might be best served by unloading their biggest trade chip at some point to help the rebuilding process. That piece would be ace right-hander Felix Hernandez.

Last January the Mariners rewarded King Felix with a five-year, $78 million* contract extension, and the team was rewarded with 249.2 innings, a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts. Unfortunately for Hernandez, he only had a 13-12 record to show for his incredible season, but he was rewarded with his first AL Cy Young Award.

At just 25 years old, Hernandez would easily be the most sought after player on the trade market if he was made available. While trading him away would be incredibly unpopular with Seattle’s fans, they aren’t exactly packing Safeco Field as it is. Plus, moving Hernandez for a big haul of prospects could be the quickest way for the Mariners to turn things around.

So far this season, Hernandez is 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in four starts. Hernandez has received 17 runs of support in those four games.

Last year Seattle packed Cliff Lee off to Texas and received (among others) Justin Smoak. While Smoak was fairly disappointing last season, he appears to have found his groove in Seattle and looks much more comfortable at the plate this season (.300/.419/.460).

Current Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has claimed he won’t trade Hernandez, but the league is littered with GMs who have made similar claims about certain players. Besides, Zduriencik’s opinion might change as the season progresses. The problem is, it just doesn’t make good business sense to have one guy taking up an average of $15.6 million in payroll. Especially on a team that lost 101 games last season and seems headed for a similar fate.

Yes, 16 games is a very small sample, and sure the Mariners could improve. But as it stands things in Seattle look grim, and moving King Felix might be the best path to hastening the turnaround.


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  1. 17 Responses to “The Seattle Mariners May Have To Trade Felix Hernandez”

  2. If that load Jack Zzzzzzk doesn’t try to rob and/or big time the NYY again, he could come up w/an amazing haul. But he needs to stop being an arrogant ahole first. Or give away the Fat King for some other losers scrubs just to make a point. The point being – he’s a jag.

    By Juke Early on Apr 18, 2011

  3. This is idiotic. The M’s got a great haul of prospects from Texas for Lee, drafted incredibly well the last two years (and stand to draft incredibly well again this year), and have a fully stocked farm system. Plus, any prospects are just that, prospects. Trading Hernandez doesn’t make any sense at all.

    By Sean on Apr 18, 2011

  4. Sean,
    I have been in a similar situation as a fan watching the Padres vehemently deny they would ever trade Jake Peavy. Then, sure enough, when the right offer came they sent him packing. If the M’s aren’t going to be good for a few years, trading Hernandez is the way to accelerate the rebuilding process. It’s not a necessity, of course, it’s just the move that makes the most sense.

    To be honest, I don’t know if a team that would be in contention and needs a starter could offer a haul of prospects worthy of netting Hernandez in return. That really should be the only thing stopping Seattle from dealing him.

    Also, of the prospects the Mariners got in return for Lee, only Smoak has a high ceiling. Blake Beavan has a chance to be solid, but Josh Lueke is a 26-year-old middle reliever who has yet to establish himself and Matt Lawson is a Double-A second baseman who most experts feel won’t be able to hit in the big leagues.

    There is definitely room for improvement in the minor leagues, as the Mariners ranked 18th on Baseball America’s 2011 Organization Talent Rankings. ESPN did have them at 10th though.

    By Phillips on Apr 18, 2011

  5. I still haven’t heard a reason why the Mariners should trade Felix that i like including this one. Felix is not even in his prime yet and is on a very team friendly deal. It would be stupid to trade him. It’s not like the M’s can’t turn it around in the next 4 or 5 years and dealing him would leave them without a front end option. They would be dealing him just for the sake of dealing him which isn’t too smart.

    By Bronx Baseball Daily on Apr 18, 2011

  6. Phillips,

    I disagree about Lueke. I think he has tremendous potential as a live-arm middle reliever or even a closer if he develops a split. I think he’s a fantastic piece in the org, and as you said, Beaven has a good chance to be solid. I agree that Lawson is the least exciting in the deal.

    My point is, I think the turnaround in Seattle is closer than most people think, especially with Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley, Carlos Peguero, Josh Fields, and whomever the M’s take #2 overall this year coming on. Not to mention the production the M’s have already seen from Pineda at the big league level, and the power and range Michael Saunders has shown. Trading Hernandez for a bunch of prospects now would both clog a system already full of prospects, and remove the man who, at his age, should be the centerpiece of the team’s rebuilding, especially since the team has him for the next four years.

    By Sean on Apr 18, 2011

  7. His contract was 5/82.5 not 108

    By A on Apr 18, 2011

  8. i think if the m,s were 2 put king on the market the yanks would give them a deal they couldnt refuse they would throw jesus montero alone #1 of all prospects and say brett gardener,joba chamberlain and another prospect of there choice along w/ picking up there tab 4 them now that would get king felix 2 the yanks n help both teams out extremely well dont u think

    By stevie on Apr 18, 2011

  9. it always amazes me how ridiculous deals are done by middle of the road team, just to find themselves looking for a payroll out to rebuild. thank goodness that the rangers will pass on this deal.

    By rg carter on Apr 18, 2011

  10. A,
    You’re right, thanks for pointing that out. It was actually $78 million.

    The Yankees would not be able to put together a good package for Hernandez right now. Montero, Gardner and Chamberlain isn’t a great group anyway. Gardner isn’t anything special, Joba is overrated and Montero isn’t a sure thing. The Mariners could do better. And I don’t think the Yankees will be looking to spend even more money on a starting pitcher.

    By Phillips on Apr 18, 2011

  11. Trading Felix would only hurt the M’s. They need to build around him not trade him for might be’s. especially not to the yanks I HATE them.

    By bryan on Apr 18, 2011

  12. When you have one of the very best pitchers in all of baseball locked in to an affordable deal and, like some others have pointed out, some really good talent on the way up, you HAVE to wait and see if guys like Ackley, Franklin, and Peguero will pan out. Otherwise we might be great with these guys alone and will have given up Felix for unproven and most likely inferior talent. When you have a player this special locked in for his prime years, don’t trade him…

    By Thaddeus on Apr 18, 2011

  13. I agree with you, but while they are at it, trade Bedard too. The rotation should be: Pineda, Vargas, Fister, Laffey, (Bedard replacement) and Lueke. Trade Felix for the best possible bat you can get and spend some cash for another bat. Deal Cust, he’s done nothing. Deal Langerhans, why they signed him I don’t know, .228 over 9 years. They may eat some cash in dealing some of these guys, but if they don’t win soon, they will be in serious jeopardy of going the way of the Sonics.

    By boomer on Apr 19, 2011

  14. My problem is not with trading Felix. It might be very good move for the Mariners at this point in their rebuilding process. My problem is that the track record of the Mariners in picking good talent is not very good. I have often wondered just who their talent scouts are … would they know good potential if they saw it? I have my doubts. I have wondered over the years of bad selections whether they would know talent if it came up and hit them in the mouth. Sorry, just haven’t got Tim Lincecum out of my craw yet. If you are going to trade him, make ABSOLUTELY sure you get you get good value for him. If you are worried about small Safeco crowds now, screw up a Felix trade and you can play all your games at Cheney.

    By Jim Patrick on Apr 20, 2011

  15. I only got to this part “With that in mind, conventional wisdom would say that the Mariners might be best served by unloading their biggest trade chip at some point to help the rebuilding process. That piece would be ace right-hander Felix Hernandez,” and I had to ask myself, how long is this rebuilding process supposed to take. I’ve been alive as long as the Mariners have been around. I saw the electricity at the King Dome at Game 5 when the Mariners beat the Yankees. For Christ’s sake, the ownership/management needs to step up and get a damn competitive team. They are too afraid to take any big risks.

    By Tim on Apr 21, 2011

  16. Tim,
    I agree that management should go out and make moves to make the team better, but if the guys upstairs can’t bring in solid players via trades or free agency by making smart moves (and the Chone Figgins move was not smart then, nor now) then they have to stockpile youth and hope it pans out.

    Hell, I hope they don’t have to trade Hernandez. I like it when guys stay with one team for their whole careers. This post was just about how if things keep going the way they are, they might be forced to move him.

    By Phillips on Apr 21, 2011

  17. Montero, Joba and Gardner would be a terrible trade for the M’s. You have to get some of the yankees top talent and you have to get a solid starter from the yankees like Nova. If you got the 3 above players and Nova and Brackman then you make the trade. The problem with trading for just prospects is you have to wait for them to develop. Imagine the M’s as they are without Felix. You need to get all the players I mentioned above to make it a good trade. I am a yankee fan and and they can get desperate enough to ruin their farm in a trade.

    By Henry winkle on Apr 21, 2011

  18. i think the mariners should have armstrong and lincoln leave town all they are after is to line thier own pockets and the hell with baseball in seattle. hey this play some of those farm players and give em a chance what can it hurt. smitty a fan

    By smitty on Apr 25, 2011

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