Let me start by saying that, while it's non-zero, the chances of Felix Hernandez being traded this winter are pretty small.
Felix has stated many times that he loves Seattle. He has a no-trade clause that we know includes the Yankees. We don't know the other teams, but the team that may be the most willing to give up a huge package is probably out of the running.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has also stated that he has no interest in trading the King. While that may be because he can't due to the contract and ownership's wishes, he still said it. This is a front office that traded for Cliff Lee without a soul knowing about it until it was done. They're tight-lipped, and when they do say something, you can generally take it to the bank.
We also have seen one offer that the Mariners turned down. A couple summers ago, they didn't feel Adrian Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz and their choice of a few more Red Sox prospects were enough. That would have been a pretty impressive haul, so to turn that down lets you know something.
This is baseball, though. It's a weird game, and you never know what sort of surprise you'll see. So here are 10 trade packages that could pique their interest.
Let's get this one out of the way, since it's the one everyone talks about.
To get Felix, they'd first have to get him to agree to waive his no-trade rights to New York. Who knows? The appeal of winning should be in there for a guy with the passion and fire of Felix.
- Jesus Montero, C
- Phil Hughes, P
- Eduardo Nunez, SS
- Ivan Nova, P
The package would certainly start with catcher Jesus Montero. He's the Yankees' best hitting prospect, who doesn't project well as a long-term catcher. He'd be blocked at first base in the Bronx, and this year will be blocked at DH.
You want the best pitcher in the AL? You have to give up one to get him. So Phil Hughes would have to head to Seattle also.
The Mariners tried to get Nunez or Nova in the deal that would have brought Montero to Seattle for Cliff Lee. Originally, second baseman David Adams was in that package, but after seeing medical reports the Mariners backed out and took the Justin Smoak deal instead when the Yankees wouldn't put Nunez or Nova in his place.
This would be a pretty big haul. It fills two of the team's biggest needs and gives them two young arms to fill the void left by the would-be departing Hernandez.
Would the Yankees do it? Would their fans show up wielding torches and pitchforks? Perhaps. But, you're not fleecing this front office and getting the best young pitcher in baseball for B prospects.
Intradivisional trades don't happen often. And the Mariners already tapped the Rangers for some of their prospects in the Cliff Lee trade.
So, why would the Rangers give their division rival even more bullets to use against them? They might not, but unlike the Lee deal, they wouldn't have to worry about Hernandez bolting at the end of the season. Meanwhile, would the Mariners want to face Felix half a dozen times a season? Probably not.
But hey, the Rangers still have one of the deepest farm systems in the game. If the value in return is superior to the value given up, I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't worry about what could happen in a few games over a 162-game schedule.
- Derek Holland, LHP
- Tanner Scheppers, RHP
- Martin Perez, LHP
- Jurickson Profar, SS
- B Prospect(s)
This would be a pretty massive haul if you got the top three guys. Remove one and add a couple B prospects and you still have a solid return. Scheppers and Perez are the top pitching prospects in the organization. That would be a lot to give up, especially to a team in your division.
Felix is only a year older than Scheppers, so the Rangers get back a guy around the same age with a Cy Young and five years experience in the big leagues in his back pocket.
Perez is 19 years old—a young gun much like Felix was when he came up. It would sting to lose him, but again, there is no certainty that he develops into the next Felix. You have to give to get.
Profar is blocked by Elvis Andrus, and a spot isn't likely to open up anytime soon. He has the defensive tools the Mariners have become known to like. He's very young and raw, but has a nice ceiling.
Sooner or later the Royals will get better, right?
It just so happens that they actually have one of the better farm systems in the game right now; possibly the best. And they just added more pieces when they traded Zack Grienke.
Well, maybe the Royals would be interested in the best pitcher in their league to help along some of that talent?
- Mike Moustakas, 3B
- Wil Myers, C
- John lamb. LHP
- Brett Eibner, OF
Trading any of these guys isn't something a (ever)building team does. They do have solid depth all over, though. If the Royals want to get serious about winning, they need proven impact players. They just traded one away because he was a head case. Felix is not a head case.
The Sox tried to get Felix before, and it didn't work. Who knows? Maybe they try harder this time.
- Clay Buchholz, RHP
- Jose Iglesias, SS
- Garin Cecchini, 3B
- Drake Britton, LHP
- Felix Doubront, LHP
Buchholz is a young arm that would has major league experience. Obviously, the Red Sox would rather have a rotation with both Felix and Buccholz in it, but if they want Felix bad enough it would cost them. With Casey Kelly going to San Diego in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, that removes the top pitching prospect the Mariners may have coveted.
Iglesias offers solid defensive potential. He turns 21 next month and has played one season of pro ball after defecting from Cuba. He whizzed through a short stint at A ball and played decent during his time in AA.
Cecchini would give the Mariners a corner infielder with a good bat—one for average. Britton is a 21 year old lefty still in A ball, but is highly regarded and we know how lefties do at Safeco.
Finally, toss in your Felix for our Felix. Doubront just turned 23. When I look at young pitchers, I still get amazed at how old they are compared to King Felix. In this case, Doubront is only about a year and a half younger.
The Cubbies are in a big market. I don't think I have to tell you about their desperation to win. They have prospects to do it, too.
You'd also reunite Felix and Carlos Silva, who I guess are buddies. Felix lost a bunch of weight, while Silva gained a bunch during their time together in Seattle. Draw your own conclusions.
- Starlin Castro, SS
- Brett Jackson, OF
- Andrew Cashner, RHP
- B Prospect(s)
By this point, people reading this have to be thinking, "Dang, Carson, you're asking for teams' best prospects! Are you nuts?"
No, I'm not. If you want Felix, you have to wow the Mariners.
Castro could be a star in the making if he can stay healthy. He's only 20, but barely played more games than his age in 2010 due to injury. He gives a combination of defense and batting ability as a top 20 prospect in baseball. If the injury limits his range, he should have the size and ability to shift to third base.
Jackson gets on base and hits a bunch of balls into the gap. He's a lefty, so Safeco would treat him well. Cashner is a big righty who was drafted four straight years, so people like him.
The Mets have been a disaster the last couple years. They would love a big name to add to their club before every last fan hops onto the Yankees bandwagon.
- Jenrry Mejia, RHP
- Wilmer Flores, SS
- Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B
- Matt Harvey, RHP
- B Prospect(s)
Only the top four of this list is actually serious.
Mejia didn't impress too much in his MLB debut this season, but he's a talented pitcher with good stuff. Flores hits decently, most of his power is with doubles.
Rodriguez just turned 19, but has shown decent average and power in the low minors. He's a couple years out still, but is projected as a power-hitting threat at the hot corner.
Harvey is also only 19, and was just drafted last summer. He's a high-upside righty at 6'4" and already has the best-rated curveball in the Mets system.
Toss in ZeErika McQueen purely because he has the coolest name ever. Seriously. Say it out loud a couple times. Also, if the Mets can locate Alhaji Turay, send him our way, too. I went to high school with him and would like to have a chat with him about karma.
The Braves have a solid farm system. They've been able to churn out players for the better part of two decades. Share the wealth, man.
- Julio Teheran, RHP
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Matt Lipka, SS
- B Prospect(s)
Teheran played at three levels of the minors last season. He's a real prospect with good stuff and control. He's only 19, so the Mariners could replace their ex-phenom with a new one, though I don't think Teheran is the next Felix Hernandez.
Freeman gets on base. He has a good average. He slugs. Basically, he does it all at the plate and while the Braves could be reluctant to move him they do have depth. If they'd rather give me Jason Heyward, I'd say yes.
Lipka is an exceptional athlete. He's speedy and hit fairly well in rookie ball last season. He's still a couple years out at best, but has a bunch of tools you like to see.
I just can't help myself here. A Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels rotation would possibly make the earth explode.
There just isn't much more to say about why it would make the Phillies even better.
- Domonic Brown, OF
- Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
- Sebastian Valle, C
- J.C. Ramirez, RHP
Yeah, this is fantasy, so I'm getting a fantasy haul in return.
The Phillies could replace Valle with a bucket and Dom Brown with a bobble-head doll. With that rotation, nothing is getting hit anyway.
I might fly to San Francisco for a home stand if this were to happen. I'd finally get to see Felix and Tim Lincecum in the same rotation (yes, I'm still bitter). Toss in Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez and all of a sudden you have a rotation that could rival the Phillies, maybe even be better.
Having deep rotation depth would allow the Giants to do something like this. Once you taste victory like the Giants did this past season, you want to make it sustainable. Well, unless you're the Florida Marlins.
The Giants are in a market that has money, and their owner has enough cash to go around lighting bums' cigarettes with Benjamins. These windows of success don't stick around long for many teams, so why not go all in?
- Madison Bumgarner LHP
- Zack Wheeler, RHP
- Thomas Neal, OF
- Tommy Joseph, C
- Ehire Adrianza, SS
Bumgarner is not Felix Hernandez. He's a good young pitcher who the Giants would normally not want to let go, but several years of Felix while you're in a championship window with rotation depth should make you think about it.
Thomas Neal has put up strong numbers at the plate, but his power took a dip when he moved up to AA last season. His home runs were cut in half after the promotion, but the doubles went unchanged. His average went down to around .300 and his OBP dropped to .359, but those are things you expect when being challenged at a new level. He was like a video game player at A ball, and still respectable at AA.
Joseph is blocked by this kid named Posey. He's still young, but the Mariners are lacking depth behind the dish and he'd instantly become one of the team's top catchers in their system.
The Giants have two young shortstop prospects in Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Crawford. The Mariners should be able to pry one away.
The Buck stops here.
If we're going to trade Felix, some payback for the Erik Bedard fiasco would help the pill go down a little easier.
- Manny Machado, SS
- Zach Britton, LHP
- Xavier Avery, OF
- Ryan Berry, RHP
- Dan Klein, RHP
Every time a bell rings, the O's get a middle infield prospect. They have three shortstops on their top 10 prospect list, according to Baseball America. We'll take the one on top.
Buck Showalter has been trying. They were linked to just about every big free agent, but no one bit. So, time to go the trade route, Buck. Problem is, we're not taking anything short of a fleecing.
Fans of teams in the previous slides might hate these trade packages.
Here's some facts you have to face, though.
Felix Hernandez loves Seattle. He doesn't want to leave. The Mariners love Felix Hernandez. They don't want him to leave. You're not getting him for your busted or overblown prospects. You're going to have to give up major-league-ready talent and a bunch of prospects.
The Mariners turned down the chance to get Adrian Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz and their choice of multiple other Red Sox prospects. Digest that for a second.
And that was before he finished second and then won a Cy Young award in consecutive seasons.
The chances are slim as it is. If you want Felix, you're going to have to pay big. Maybe bigger than what I proposed.