Felix Hernandez in pinstripes is something that a lot of people still see as a possibility, even as early as this season.
A lot has been ballyhooed about the reigning Cy Young's status with the Mariners, his no-trade clause and whether or not the Mariners should consider shipping off their ace for a true king's ransom.
Stephen Meyer, who heads up the MLB content team here on Bleacher Report, put together a logical piece discussing Felix's no-trade clause and why it doesn't mean he couldn't be traded to one of the listed teams.
Stephen made a lot of solid points. Often times, no-trade clauses are misconstrued as a player's desire not to go to a specific team.
In reality, players of Felix's ilk retain smart agents who make sure their client has leverage in any trade negotiation.
That said, there are some things with Stephen's piece I disagree with. These issues aren't something I'd use to claim he's wrong per say, but rather to play devil's advocate and point out some things that people who follow the Mariners more closely may be privy to.
Here are three major points to counter his argument that Felix could indeed be traded this season:
1. Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik and his front office are renowned around the league as a group that hold their cards extremely close to their vests. It was for that reason that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. approached Zduriencik at the winter meetings a year ago to discuss a potential Cliff Lee deal.
Ken Rosenthal, probably the most connected reporter in baseball, was finally able to sniff out some details, but the Mariners' involvement remained a secret until the deal was virtually done.
What this all means is that the Mariners don't talk about stuff—not their GM nor his employees.
When Zduriencik does talk, you can walk the check into the bank and cash it without issue. He's tight-lipped, giving canned answers often, but has no problem being candid once a decision is made.
His continued insistence that Felix isn't going anywhere shouldn't be looked at as posturing. The depth of his insistence shows that he and ownership have no desire to trade Hernandez.
2. Felix has been up front about his desire to stay in Seattle. Of course, the no-trade clause doesn't mean things can't change, but usually players give canned responses like "This is where I am now, we'll see what the future holds" if they aren't sure or have other plans.
Sometimes, you can just read people.
The way Felix's face lights up when he talks about Seattle, it doesn't look like a guy who is sick of losing or wants to force his way out.
3. The team would need motivation to trade him.
Rosenthal and I exchanged some tweets about this. He believes that the time is now, while the return would be the greatest, for the Mariners to consider a deal.
He and others may believe that a full rebuild should be done at this point, considering the state of both the big league roster and farm system.
While I agree with that logic, Felix is in a special category. I think people forget that he still has to pay a surcharge to rent a car.
He'll turn 25 in time for his third start of the season.
Furthermore, the hardest thing for any team to get is a bone fide No. 1 starter.
Of the names that people have mentioned that could come back from New York, there is no certainty any will yield the value Felix already has at a young age.
Look, I'm the first guy that is willing to let his emotional attachment to a player go if a deal makes sense. As a Mariners fan, I've become an expert at this as our superstars have fled the scene of the accident.
In this case, though, you have a player that is far too special to flip for some unproven prospects—each with their own potential issues.
Next season, the club will be another year removed from the mess that Bill Bavasi left. They’ll finally have some payroll flexibility to make roster moves that come from places other than the scrap heap and rehab room.
The Mariners don't need to rebuild without Felix Hernandez. They need to build around him.
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