MLB Trade Rumors: Will Yankees’ Prospects Lure M’s for Felix Hernandez

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIMarch 7, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Will Yankees’ Prospects Lure M’s for Felix Hernandez

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    The "Killer B's" are becoming a household name and Jesus Montero is ready to make his big league debut. Are the Yankees' prospects turning enough heads to warrant a blockbuster trade? 

    When Andy Pettitte retired, the Yankees were left with a major void in their starting rotation. Fans and experts alike felt that Cliff Lee would be the guy to come in and sure-up the shaky staff. When that didn't pan out and Lee turned down the Yankees' generous offer, the trade rumors began to circulate. Could Chris Carpenter or Francisco Liriano be dealt?

    The real prize the Yankees' brass were eyeing was the 2010 Cy Young winner, Felix Hernandez.

    The Mariners are far from they team they were in the early '90s. The days of Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson are long gone. King Felix is the only real asset the Mariners have at the moment. It seemed as if it would take some big name prospects and some young, every-day players to even catch the Mariners front offices' attention.

    Could the recent performance of the Yankees' up and coming studs strike some interest in the Mariners front office?

The Prospects: Dellin Betances

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    Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero are showing they are ready to make a splash at the big league level. Each have had their chance to showcase their abilities and have stepped up to the challenge.

    Betances, the 6'8", 245 lbs., right-hander is a home-grown prospect. Growing up in Manhattan, he is living out his dream. Across High A-ball and AA, Dellin excelled in 2010. In 17 starts, he went 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA.

    His spring has been exceptional as he has breezed through his first outing against the Phillies, recording three strikeouts. In his second appearance against the Rays, he found himself in a jam, but showed his maturity as a pitcher as he worked through it with minimal damage. 

    Has Betances shown enough promise to interest the Mariners in making him part of a deal with Hernandez? At the moment, not yet. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but it wouldn't be enough bait for Seattle to bite.

The Prospects: Manuel Banuelos

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    Manny Banuelos might be just turing 20 years old, but he is already being compared by catcher Russell Martin to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is one of the best south-paws in the game, and to garner such praise should not be overlooked. 

    Banuelos has pitched better than Yankees ace CC Sabathia this spring. In his first outing against the Tigers, he was dominant setting them down 1-2-3. He already has a big league changeup that compliments his fastball that can hit mid-to-high 90s.

    Banuelos is working on adding a devastating curveball to his repertoire.

    Banuelos looks like the real deal. He still has plenty of growing left to do as he matures into his body. For a 20-year-old prospect, he looks like a seasoned veteran on the mound. 

    Even though he is having a dominating spring, Banuelos will begin the season in the minors, but keeping him there for long will be difficult for Yankees management. He looks like he is the most ready out of the "Killer B's."

    Could the young Mexican lefty be enticing enough for the Mariners to send Hernandez packing? This is a possibility. A left-handed flamethrower is a rare commodity. He has the skill-set to become the next Johan Santana or as Martin said, the next Kershaw. Hernandez is not much older at 24 years old, but he already has six years of wear-and-tear on his tires. 

    Banuelos could be the straw that breaks the camels back.

The Prospects: Jesus Montero

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    Jesus Montero has had hype surrounding him since he was drafted into the Yankees farm system. He has shown his ability to hit the ball and has improved his defensive skills behind the dish. The question has always been, can he live up to his potential?

    Montero seems to be on the fast track to cracking the big leagues with his performance on the field, but has also been helped by the unfortunate foot injury to Francisco Cervelli. 

    Montero has vastly improved as a receiver and is showing chemistry with all of the pitchers on the Yankees roster. He also has shown his arm strength by throwing out runners attempting to steal. This is something that the Yankees fans have not been too familiar with when Posada was behind the plate.

    A spark seemed to be lit under Montero after he was mentioned to be the cornerstone of the possible Cliff Lee trade last season. He finished his season at AAA with a .289 BA and 21 HRs. He has shown some of his pop this spring, picking up a few big hits and some RBIs.

    Could the impression Montero has already left this spring and last season be just what the struggling Mariners need? They need the offensive prowess of a guy like Montero, since they failed to produce much from a scoring standpoint in 2010.

    If the Mariners continue to struggle to score runs, the idea of acquiring Montero in a deal involving Hernandez could very well become a possibility. 

Is This Really a Possibility?

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    The Yankees would love to bring in the Mariners ace. He is a fierce competitor and has succeeded on a team that consistently find themselves in the AL West cellar. The idea of playing for a championship caliber team could spark the 24-year-old's interest.

    If Seattle is looking for a pitcher in the deal, they should look no further than Banuelos. He is a south-paw with potential oozing out of his ears. He would need some more time in the minors since rushing him to the next level would be a mistake, though it is tempting.

    Montero could bring some pop to the stagnant Mariners offense. The combination of Ackley and Montero could cause havoc for years to come. Both are young stars who are finding their stride. Miguel Olivo is just a quick fix for the Mariners, but Montero could be the long-term solution.

From the Outside Looking In

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    I would be pleasantly surprised if anything manifested between these two teams down the road. Hernandez is the prize possession in Seattle's organization and a deal surrounding him would have to be ground-breaking. 

    For the Yankees, a move would seem to be a rash decision. I am not a proponent of dispensing your farm system like Halloween candy, and that would be exactly what the Yankees would be doing.

    Hernandez would be a fantastic addition to a rotation in question, but he would cost way too much in terms of prospects and Major League ready players. The Seattle Times has speculated that a deal would have to involve Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes on top of one of the aforementioned prospects.

    The Mariners need Hernandez as part of their equation to become relevant again. His price tag should be so high that no team, not even the Yankees, could make a move for him. A successful team in Seattle should be centered around King Felix. No matter how tempting a deal could be, Hernandez should never be mentioned in trade talk.

    Struggles in 2011 for the Yankees and Mariners could once again have trade rumors circulating, but for each team, a blockbuster deal would only compound the issue.