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The Mariners Really Need to Trade Felix Hernandez

The Upper Echelons of Major League Pitchers-

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. David Price, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Jered Weaver
  3. Matt Cain, RA Dickey , James Shields, Zack Grienke, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez
  4. Cliff Lee, Stephen Strasburg,  Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Johnny Cueto
  5. Ian Kennedy, Anibal Sanchez, Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, Trevor Cahill, Jordan Zimmerman etc.

Those, in a nutshell, are the top pitchers in baseball. Notice the placement of RA Dickey and James Shields. Both have been traded in the last month, yet both are ranked below (in my estimate) Felix Hernandez. In addition to those two big offseason moves, the Angels signed Josh Hamilton. I say this for one reason, Texas isn’t going anywhere,  and Los Angeles just added Hamilton to their team. The other team in the division is Oakland who, I might point out, was probably the second best team in the AL playoffs last year.

Regardless of Seattle’s current talent (meh,) the team is in a stacked division. Anything besides last place is probably a miracle (barring an Angels’ season-long flop.)

The team isn’t going anywhere soon. Thus it makes sense to trade Felix Hernandez, especially since their top two pitching prospects (Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen) are ranked fourth and eighth in terms of the top 100 prospects in the game per Jonathan Mayo.

There are two, if not three, (James Paxton could be special as well) potential Hernandez replacements waiting in the system. Yes, the fences are being moved in and the Mariners need to sell tickets, but dealing Hernandez makes sense.

Let’s put a few things out there. One, Hernandez is four years younger than Shields and twelve younger than Dickey. Not surprisingly, King Felix is a much better pitcher than both. The point on Shields, or even Dickey, is that Shields fetched the number three overall prospect (again all this per Mayo,) Wil Myers, who has at least “star” potential if not more. Another prospect that went to Tampa was starter Jake Odorizzi, ranked the 30th best in all of baseball. Tampa also picked up two other prospects who are ranked in the top 20 of their system.

New York got the 11th and 83rd best prospects in the game by selling high on a 38-year old.

What I’m getting at, if you haven’t gotten there first, is that the Rays and Mets got some of the better packages of prospects that the trading market has seen in the past few years. I would think that the Mariners would want to cash in with a haul of that kind.

The Mariners need a hitter to lead them into the next phase of the franchise (hopefully contending.) I’m sure they’d jump at a package of Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt (not that Texas would consider that seriously.) But Seattle needs a corner stone. They need the next Miguel Cabrera or Evan Longoria. They need someone who can carry a team on his backs/bats. Maybe Felix Hernandez is the way to find that player.

Surely if James Shields and RA Dickey can fetch outstanding hauls of prospects, then a younger and better pitcher (Felix Hernandez) can get a better one.

What do you think? Should the Mariners trade King Felix or should they keep him and try to contend?

68 thoughts on “The Mariners Really Need to Trade Felix Hernandez

  1. Mariners have prospects, they don’t need more. They need a bat they can count on now. I would keep Felix. At the moment he is the only reason to go to a game. And now Vargas is gone and Kendry Morales is an M. More bats like his please! And no one can replace Felix.

  2. Any team that wants/needs him can’t afford to trade what Seattle needs without making it counter-productive.

    Seattle doesn’t need prospects. They need PROVEN major league hitting.

    Give it up already.

    1. This. Felix is better, younger and has more years on his contract than either Dickey or Shields. No way are they comparable. Name one team that could offer a package that gets the Mariners talking–an offer of Profar is a start, but Olt is like a B- prospect.

  3. I think Felix Hernandez is the player you’re telling them to go find. They have lots of young hitters who could develop into decent major-league bats. Don’t forget how young they all are. Sometimes it takes two or three years to get acclimated to major-league pitching. With the addition of the pitchers you mention, Hultzen, etc, They can proceed with a top pitching staff and a league-average offense. That combination should allow them to compete in the AL West. And all of that is achieved in the next two years without spending any money except to extend Felix. If they spend an extra 50 million on two or three free-agent sluggers you’re looking at one of the best teams in baseball.

  4. Ummm…if part of your argument is that they need to do something drastic to compete with a “stacked division” why would they go and trade Felix, a relatively young player with little to no history of injury, within their own division–to have to compete against him for the next 7-10 years?

    I agree that all options should be explored, but that’s not a logical move.

  5. What is this garbage?! What are Ackley, Smoak, Montero, Franklin and Zunino? Prospects that are supposed to rake and be cornerstones….how’s that working out? Yes, let’s trade the only player that gives our franchise some legitimacy for more lottery scratch tickets.

      1. Why would either the Brewers or Pirates trade THEIR cornerstone players for a pitcher with 2 years left on his deal? Makes no sense.

  6. I think Felix had a lot of innings logged as a young pitcher, almost 700 by the age of 22. Over 1600 by the age of 26. I think pitchers generally have about 2400 innings in their arm, but that’s if they don’t start until they’re about 24-25. So many innings by age 26 to me means there’s a big risk of a burnout (see Carlos Zambrano). Zambrano only had 1100 innings by age 26 and only 300 innings by age 22. He then had 2 decent years at age 27 and 28, but by age 29-30 he was done and is just a shell of his former self. A bullpen pitcher now. Felix might not go that way, but it’s a risk I’d rather not take. Trade him for an equal asset with less risk. I’m thinking every thinks Felix is indestructible, and I think they’re wrong. That’s the market being incorrect and you can cash in on that.

  7. Have you forgotten that the Astros are in the AL West now? Also, I say the time to trade Felix (if ever) would be at the trade deadline. This gives the M’s a chance to see if Montero, Smoak and Ackley are going to pan out. If they aren’t, then a Felix trade is in order. If they are, then it’s time to talk extension.

  8. If you are going to write about the Mariner needs, you should know the division. The M’s are fighting for last, they are fighting for fourth. The Stro’s bros. They are not good and should propel the M’s into the five hundred range simply by playing them 20 times a year.

      1. And how long has the team been building, literally from scratch? Since draft day 2009. That’s less than 4 years building within an organization whose cupboards were robbed blind by the previous GM. Felix could be a cornerstone at the age of 29 as well.

      2. It has not been working because the players around Felix were lousy. Anyone who had talent the last four years completely fell apart due to age, injury, or futility. The new wave of talent is adjusting, and is much, much more talented.

  9. I have been saying we need to trade him while he is relavent, I have heard right now with where his contract is, his age, and his overall make up he could comand the “Jackpot payoff for the M’s”. Just a few years ago Boston offered Reddick,Elsbery,Middlebrooks,Bucholtz and they were going to trade and get Adrian Gonzalez and throw him in …..are you kidding me? He will price himself out of Seattle anyhow when his contrct is up, Yes if we get Carlos Gonzalez,Justin Upton, or Mike stanton they might do the same but multiple players =good things, it’s just the laws of averages. I think Seattle’s brass understands that and are using the smoke screen “long term extention” to get serious teams to bring searious offers…say a 3, or 4 team mega trade that gets Seattle Carlos Gonzales,Justin Upton, and Mike Stanton, along with a few high end prospects,now am I asking too much..well with what R.A. Dickey brought in trade value I believe the King is worth a Kings Ransom like I sugjested….

    Frank F , Clarksville Tennessee

  10. First problem:

    Justin Verlander is not any better then Felix. His team is better. But Felix is just as good if not better.

    You simple just do not trade the best pitcher in baseball. There are many other way to build the team without trading him.

  11. that is not the whole story….If Greinke gets $24mil a year , Felix, younger and better will surely pus the $30 mil mark. The Mariners budget is $94mil! Felix pitches every 5th day, that is maybe 16 starts at home, and even this year when he pitches, crowds still linger in the low 20,000’s. With two years left under his current contract, he is a bargain and at the best time ever to take advantage of it. He can bring in three everyday starters just to begin with. Mariners are going no where in the next two years, and he might walk after that anyway. The Mariners would be dumb to extend him. So, I agree…TIME TO TRADE FELIX.

  12. I do not agree at all. If Felix was not interested in sticking around, then trading him would make sense. All signs point to not only the Mariners wanting to keep him, but also Felix wanting to be here (never can truly tell whats in a players mind though).

    Second, the Mariners already have a number of quality prospects, and their overall depth in their system is flush with young talent. Quite a few of those prospects are close to major league ready, including the young talent that is currently on the Mariners. While trading Felix for a HUGE haul of prospects would be appealing during a complete rebuild would make sense, the Mariners already went through the overhaul of the entire system, they do not need to do that now. They need to supplement that talent at the major league level now. The teams that would be offering the world for Felix are the teams that would deal prospects, and not talent from their current team.

    Third, just because the Angels and Rangers are full fledged power houses, that does not mean that there is no hope for the Mariners. Felix is still young enough to be on the next contending Mariners team. That could be this year (highly doubtful) or as soon as next year depending on the steps that the current core takes, and the possible steps back that the Rangers, A’s, Angels take. There are quite a few things that can happen in a years time (who thought the A’s would win the west last year). Build your team to get around 82 wins and if things break right you can contend for a wild card spot at least. The Mariners are not far off from that with what they have.

    Fourth, while Payroll for the Mariners has dropped in recent years they are not a small market team (against popular talking head opinion (not you but in general)). And that is the key difference between the Mariners and say the A’s, or Rays, or Royals. The Mariners can afford to keep Felix around, as long as he is able to stand being the Mariners. He may not want to be around when his contract is up, but until you are 100% sure he isnt going to sign, you keep him. Players and pitchers like him are VERY hard to find. When you have one you keep it for as long as you can.

  13. Really? Why would the M’s move Felix for prospects only? Unless an MLB established bat, with at least three years of club control left, was part of the deal, then it is not even worth having a discussion.

    But thanks for providing the 3 millionth post on this pointless subject.

  14. Well Felix is a pretty giant asset to lead them through the playoffs. Trading him isn’t gonna help them get there probably, since no one is really in position to trade enough for Felix but not take away from their own team.

    Rangers would have to give up more than two untested prospects, no matter they’re projected talent. And maybe they probably wouldn’t want to give more, but the Mariners would want more.

    Felix is worth too much to get equal value in return and gosh darn it Felix is awesome!

    The point is Felix is a cornerstone. We need more around him, not trade him away and have the same problem with a different player who may or may not turnout.

  15. Trading Felix for prospects is ridiculous. If the Mariners were even considering trading their ace, it would HAVE to be for at least one (I’d argue for two) proven major league all-star hitter.

  16. So you think it’s going to be a miracle when the Mariners beat the Astros to not finish last in the AL West? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that the M’s are the better team.

  17. Felix Hernandez is not going anywhere. Prospects at this moment are not as valued as they once were. If you look at both the Dickey and Shields trade both teams exchanged multiple players to each other (Shields and Davis to Kansas, Dickey, Thole and Nickeas to Toronto). If you compare these two trades verses what the A’s got for Gio Gonzalez, the value that the Rays and Mets traded for prospects is much higher than what the A’s traded. All three are still great trades and should generated value for both teams (We have already seen it with the Gonzalez trade).

    All three of the big players in these trades (Shields, Davis and Dickey) are under team friendly contracts for at least the length of Felix’s current deal. Shields has 10.5 million in 2013 with a 12 million option for 2014, Davis at 2.8 million in 2013, 4.8 million in 2014 with an additional 3 options, with Dickey he has three years at 29 million with a fourth year option at 12 million. All three are much cheaper than what Felix is at (20 million) for the next two. New York and Boston were crazy about Felix a few years ago, but the trade rumors about Felix and those two teams have simmered down because he is now being paid a fair market price for his talent.

    Felix has also stated that he likes Seattle and wants to remain here. You state that the Mariners need a hitter to lead them into the next phase of the Franchise why get rid of the pitcher currently leading you there? Mariners need a corner stone? Felix is that corner stone, is there any other player you want to see when you go to a M’s game? Walker and Paxton are still at least a season away (I could see Hultzen coming up midseason). Seattle has the pieces in place (something Jack Z has done a wonderful job at) and with their aggressiveness they showed towards Hamilton and other free agents this season, along with the Vargas trade they are moving in the right direction.

  18. You claim that “Seattle needs a corner stone,” but we’ve already got one of those, his name is King Felix, and he is one of the best players in baseball. A top notch player like Felix can lead a team without a bat, and despite the fact that the Mariners consistently struggle offensively, trading away a man who is regarded as the second best pitcher in baseball (the very best in my opinion) and replacing him in the Mariners rotation with several prospects who although promising have never proven themselves at the major league level is just not the right direction for the team. What the Mariners need to do is, rather than assuming the role of the Mets or Rays, be the Blue Jays or Royals, meaning they need to be the ones trading their prospects for a big name, although instead of receiving pitching they would be getting a bat. I would love to see the M’s send Paxton and Walker over to Arizona to get Justin Upton, or something along those lines.

      1. Not because he’s a bad cornerstone, but because Bill Bavasi screwed over the team for years. There wasn’t much talent surround him. Good thing the M’s have a top 3 farm system now with some pretty good depth and can surround him with talent in the next couple years!

  19. Felix would not only require those two but Texas would I believe even give up a couple pitchers further down their depth charts to win it all now and then if Felix really wants to play in Seattle he could come back when we had a better team. This would make SEAGER, and FRANKLIN, trade bait for an young hitting outfielder

  20. You must of forgotten that Houston is now in the AL West…I highly doubt that the Mariners will finish with a worse record than Houston Astros. And keep dreaming if you think the Angels are going to collapse…Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo and Jered Weaver wont allow that.

    1. I did forget about the Astros. I still have doubts about the Angels. Last year’s team was supposed to make the playoffs and that didn’t exactly work. See 2008 Detroit Tigers, 2011 Philadelphia Eagles and current Lakers team. Maybe there is such a thing as too much talent.

  21. Red Sox send two NW guys in Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury along with a prospect or two and Seattle gives up Felix, Smoak and one of the top 3 pitching prospects. Two prominent major leaguers that will help immediately to add to Morales. Legit lead off hitter and a #2 SP. A snag in this deal is that jerk Boras is Ells agent and he’s entering his last contract year. That said, the economics of baseball are changing so maybe Seattle would be able to extend Ellsbury for the right amount of years and money. Lester is still locked up at a reasonable amount for a few years. Face it Seattle, you have to spend money eventually and I think Ells, Lester and Morales will go a long way in bringing back the fans.

    1. Yeah, what a great trade for Boston that would be — Lester (who doesn’t even make the list above) and Ellsbury (who is going to leave in a year anyway) and a prospect (or two!) for Felix PLUS Smoak PLUS one of Cerberus. Guess what, we no longer care if you’re a local boy, so the NW roots of those guys means zilch. If Seattle must eventually spend money, I’d rather extend Felix than take a group of guys already in their decline.

    2. That is a horrible trade proposal. First, any team in baseball would blow that propasal out of the water. Second Ellsbury while from the NW, is 1 year from free agency. So there is NO value there at all. Lester while very good, is also only a year away from free agency. Again no value long term for the Mariners. On top of that you would ask for Smoak and a top tier pitching prospect? Any GM would laugh at that proposal. But it does illustrate why its so hard to trade Felix, the teams that would give up the farm for Felix, are contenders. Contenders want to add to their current roster, not subtract. The Mariners need long term assets that are major league viable players, not prospects. No team will give up what the mariners seek.

    3. Why trade Felix for Ellsbury when they could sign him next year? Teams don’t trade the best prospect in baseball, let alone the best MLB pitcher, for a soon to be free agent and an injury risk.

      1. Dave, the Sox do not have the farm system to really acquire Felix. Unless they pretty much hand over their entire farm, every last player. But again, ill go back to my original point, the Mariners have currently one of the best farms in baseball. They have a young core on their major league roster. The only way a Felix trade would make sense is getting a cornerstone player back in a trade. Any team that is wanting to acquire Felix, would not be in a position to subtract from their major league roster, let alone lose a franchise cornerstone type of player. it is just not something that any team in contention will do.

        1. Sox farm system has improved with the salary dump trade to LAD. That said, you’re right: that farm system can’t compete with Seattle’s. You’re also on the money with the idea of Seattle needing a cornerstone player the caliber of, say, Ryan Braun in return, as a poster mentioned earlier. Appreciate the feedback.

      2. Drop Seager. Middlebrooks plus a lot. Like Bradley and Boegarts. Those three are a start. Add either Barnes or Webster and then a couple lower guys with high upside. That would probably be a fair deal.

    4. Geez. The Mariners should just keep Felix and wait for Lester and Ellsbury to hit free agency and poach them away from the Sox for the steepness of that deal. Bill Bavasi was fired in 2008. Just an FYI.

  22. The trade to make this year was with KC. It could have been and should have been a 10 player minimum with the center pieces being Butler and Hernandez. Felix is not going to re-sign with the Mariners even for 30 million a year. The Mariners could have solved the Smoak, Gutierrez and the middle infield situations. If you are expecting a real free agent signing, don’t hold your breath as you will pass out. This team will be built with prospects, some bad contracts and B free agents. This is Mariner baseball.

  23. The Blue Jays could maybe entice Felix from the Mariners, but their best prospects are pitchers and a catcher–which Seattle has plenty of, and Toronto’s pitching is just fine after picking up Dickey. Lawrie+ for Felix and Seager might get Seattle talking.

    1. The Blue Jays could not entice Felix from the Mariners (much less Seager in addition). There are only two systems that could entice Felix alone. St. Louis and Texas. Anyway, if the Mariners wanted to trade both, they’d get higher value by trading them separately.

  24. I doubt the Mariners are going to trade him they already said they are going to make him a M for life wouldn’t surprise me if they gave him a 160M+ contract.

  25. As much and as valuable as Felix is, he only pitches ever 5 days at best. He can’t win the game on his own. Even if he throws a no-no, that does not guarantee a win. If you could get an impact hitter or two, a pitcher that could win 10-15 games and a relief pitcher that saves 25 games. Would that not have more of an impact than a top pitcher that could win 15-25 games? But it has to be the right deal with the right team at the right time. I think the window for such a trade has passed until the deadline. I think it will cost the Mariners or any team 30 mil per year to sign him.

  26. The only guy that even comes close to worth it is Giancarlo Stanton. Even with himin the deal I’d want more. Keeping Felix makes the most sense, build around him, he is the best…

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