MLB Trade Scenarios: 10 Potential Trade Destinations for Felix Hernandez
The team was expected to contend behind a strong offense and a 1-2 pitching punch of Hernandez and the newly acquired Cliff Lee. Instead, the exact opposite happened.
The Mariners largely underachieved in 2010 thanks to clubhouse infighting and an offense that never really clicked. Cliff Lee was traded to the Texas Rangers in July and Don Wakamatsu was relieved of his managing duties on August 9th. The team finished the season 61-101, last in the American League West.
Thus, with the team seemingly out of playoff contention for this season and the near future as well, trade rumors involving Felix Hernandez have circulated.
It makes sense for the Mariners, who are looking to rebuild in the next couple of years. On top of that, Hernandez will be a 28-year-old free agent after the 2014 season and odds are that he will leave Seattle for greener pastures.
If the team does indeed trade him, here are 10 teams that will certainly make offers.
No. 10: Philadelphia Phillies
Now, the odds of the Phillies actually making this trade are slim to none. They already have a great rotation that includes Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, not to mention Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
To land Hernandez would probably mean giving up Oswalt, third baseman Placido Polanco, and prospects. Call me crazy, but I don't think Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is ready to part with that much just to rent a player for a few seasons.
Still, can you imagine how dangerous the Phillies would be with Hernandez in the starting rotation? His win totals would skyrocket given how he would have a potent offense supporting him, and the Phillies would be a lock for the NL East if the entire rotation was able to carry its share of the load.
The Phillies could probably swing the funds for Hernandez's contract but, again, Seattle's asking price would just be too high.
Odds: 50 to 1
No. 9: Boston Red Sox
Again, this is another team whose chances of acquiring Hernandez are slim.
The Red Sox have a lot of big contracts on their books and even though some of them will be gone after this season, taking on Hernandez's contract could be something of a chore. Keep in mind, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez just agreed to a seven-year, $154 million contract that starts next year.
On top of that, it's a certainty that obtaining last year's AL Cy Young Award winner would cost Theo Epstein a pretty penny in terms of players. The Red Sox would definitely have to give up top prospect Jose Iglesias as well as an everyday starter like outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury or perhaps third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Having gone to college with more than a few Red Sox fans, I think I can safely say that this trade probably won't happen. Yet, if it does, Yankees fans like myself would have just a drop of extra anxiety each time we faced Boston.
Odds: 50 to 1
No. 8: Los Angeles Dodgers
Considering how the Dodgers might not even meet payroll for the end of the month, the odds of them making any trades, let alone one for Felix Hernandez, are borderline nonexistent. Still, if that ship can be righted, there is no reason to believe that the team will make a play for the dominant righty.
Keep in mind, the Dodgers have a history of trading youth for veterans, as evidenced by last season's acquisition of Ted Lilly. They would be getting both youth and a veteran in Hernandez. Yet once again, as I stated with the previous two teams, the asking price would just be too high.
In exchange for Hernandez, I'm anticipating that the Mariners would ask for a package centered around All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp, a pitcher and perhaps prospect Dee Gordon.
Given how high team management is on both Kemp and Gordon, I don't see this deal happening in the immediate future. Next season, however, could be a different story.
Odds: 30 to 1
No. 7: Chicago Cubs
At long last, here is a potential trade that could actually happen this season. The Chicago Cubs' pitching has been inconsistent all season, managing just 14 wins. In terms of ERA, the team is ranked 26th in all of baseball at 4.69. Needless to say, a pick-me-up is needed.
Given the money involved and the players who could be part of the trade, it's safe to say that the Cubs might actually make a play for Hernandez if they get out of their slump and contend for the top spot in the NL Central. Overall, this is a trade that could be beneficial to both teams.
I can see the Cubs giving up third baseman Aramis Ramirez and his expiring contract for Hernandez, and maybe throw in struggling right-hander Ryan Dempster to compensate Seattle for the arm they're losing.
Both of those players have proven to be valuable clubhouse presences and that is just what the Mariners need: veteran leadership.
Hernandez wouldn't exactly have a potent offense supporting him in Wrigleyville, but it could still be a good fit for him. A fiery arm could be just the cure for the Cubs' century-old woes and, with patience, this move could pay off.
Odds: 25 to 1
No. 6: St. Louis Cardinals
Thus far, the St. Louis Cardinals have had a pretty good season. They're sitting atop the NL Central with a 17-14 record and hold a one-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds. However, no matter what happens in 2011, the offseason holds a lot of questions for the franchise.
Not only is All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols entering free agency for the first time, but joining him there is pitching staff ace Chris Carpenter. While I'm convinced Pujols will stay, the odds of Carpenter returning are slim. Call me crazy, but this could be an opportunity to give Pujols some extra incentive to stay.
Given how Carpenter is 36 years old, is making $14.25 million this season, and has underachieved thus far (0-2 record, 4.19 ERA, 1.35 WHIP), perhaps trading him straight up for Hernandez would be a good idea.
Hernandez makes slightly less money, $11.7 million, but is also 25 and has a brighter future than the elder pitcher. With a top offense backing him up in St. Louis, Hernandez could help the Cards contend consistently.
Odds: 25 to 1
No. 5: Texas Rangers
Last offseason, the Rangers offered Cliff Lee a seven-year contract worth close to $140 million. Given how Lee is now pitching in Philadelphia and the Rangers have a lot of money to work with, it's realistic to think that they could afford Felix Hernandez.
The only hitch in this potential trade would be the Mariners being hesitant to trade the ace of their pitching staff to a division rival. The same could be said about the Rangers and the players they would give up.
To obtain Hernandez, the Rangers would probably have to give up infielder/DH Michael Young as well as one of their young arms (Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, etc.). In this case, it's not so much agreeing on players to exchange. It's more about how willing either team is to do business with a division rival.
If the rivalry can be put aside and this deal can happen, then the situation in the AL West will get a lot more interesting.
Odds: 20 to 1
No. 4: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Before he went and signed a huge contract with the Boston Red Sox, Carl Crawford was close to signing almost as big a deal with the Angels.
The team didn't make any big free agency moves following this occurrence, so they could probably take on Hernandez's contract if they made a play for him. Again, it's not so much a matter of players involved as it is two division rivals doing business.
The Angels would probably have to give up Dan Haren and prospects for Hernandez. Nothing more, nothing less. Yet, the Angels have hesitated in the past when it comes to acquiring A-list players (CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, etc.) and that could ultimately be their bugaboo.
Still, this deal has potential and it will be interesting to see how this plays out as we come closer to the trading deadline.
Odds: 17 1/2 to 1
No. 3: New York Mets
At this point, the New York Mets should change their name to the New York Mess. Now that you're all done laughing at that golden one-liner, let's get into why this trade works. Simply put, it just does.
The Mets are in dire need of a top pitcher to lead that staff until Johan Santana comes back, and Felix Hernandez is the perfect man to do it.
Once the dominant lefty makes his return, just imagine how good the starting rotation could be. On top of that, both Santana and Hernandez are Venezuelan and would share a common bond in that.
Regarding players, the answer is obvious. The Mets would send shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Dillon Gee to Seattle and receive Hernandez plus Seattle prospect Dustin Ackley in return. This deal may seem slightly lopsided, but it's fair given the players involved.
With Hernandez in Flushing, the Mets could finally start digging themselves out of their hole.
Odds: 15 to 1
No. 2: Washington Nationals
In the free agency/trading game, one team that everyone seems to forget about is the Washington Nationals. They only have a one big contract, outfielder Jayson Werth. Plus, they have money and lots of it.
While Stephen Strasburg is rehabbing this season from Tommy John surgery, the team's pitching staff is in need of an electrifying arm. Hernandez fills that need and on top of that, provides the opportunity for a dangerous 1-2 punch in the starting rotation upon Strasburg's return.
In this particular case, Hernandez would come fairly cheap. The Nationals would probably just have to give up one of their starting pitchers to make the deal happen. For the sake of argument, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Jordan Zimmermann will be the man sent to Seattle.
If and when this trade goes through, look for the Nationals to slowly become the team to beat in the NL East.
Odds: 10 to 1
No. 1: New York Yankees
Finally, we come to the team that probably has the best shot of landing Hernandez. The New York Yankees have never been shy about offering prospects for top players, and Hernandez would be no exception.
It's no secret that the team's biggest need is starting pitching and if this trade happens, the rotation would become very dangerous. Just imagine: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Felix Hernandez all on the same team. Forget about the Big Three in Miami...that's a REAL Big Three!
Yet, the Yankees would have to give up a lot to have Hernandez on their team. Top catching prospect Jesus Montero would definitely be part of the package, as would pitcher Joba Chamberlain and perhaps either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances.
If Brian Cashman is at all considering this offer, I implore him to reconsider trading the best prospects.
Still, Hernandez is still Hernandez and if trading Montero means having him in pinstripes, I could get used to the idea. If the pitching situation remains the same in the Bronx come July, look for Cashman to pull the trigger.
Odds: 2 to 1