Felix Hernandez and the New York Yankees: How It Could Happen and Why It Might
It's never going to happen. When are they going to give it up? Move on.
More or less, this is what most non-Yankee fans thought upon reading the title of this article, am I right? I know that this subject has been the target of much criticism for a lot of baseball fans, especially those out in Seattle, but the reason it keeps coming up is because it makes sense. The Mariners trading King Felix to the Yankees would be a smart move, and a beneficial one for all parties involved.
And why is that, you ask? Well, some of the reasons are obvious. For the Yankees, acquiring one of the youngest and most talented pitchers in the game to pair atop their rotation with staff ace CC Sabathia would instantly turn them into the AL's World Series favorites.
The Bombers current rotation is a glaring weakness, with nothing but uncertainty and inconsistency following Sabathia and 2011 rookie sensation Ivan Nova. King Felix would single-handedly make it a strength.
Heading into the postseason—as AL East Division champs, might I add—with a rotation of Sabathia, Hernandez and Nova would make the Yankees even more dangerous than the Phillies. Obviously, in baseball, there is no guaranteeing a World Series title, but bringing Felix to New York would be the closest thing to it.
For Hernandez—yes, a trade would affect him as well—leaving the club that signed him and brought him through their system would be difficult, but it would also be a great opportunity for him. Moving from the lowly Mariners to the mighty Yankees would put Felix in a position to win for the first time in his life, and if there's one thing we know, it's that all players want to win almost as much as they want their paychecks.
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Over the last few seasons, King Felix's teammates have neglected to give him much run support at all, costing him more than a few wins. You can see that it's starting to get to him, as his numbers this season saw a significant drop-off from his Cy Young Award-winning 2010 season.
With one of the league's premier offenses behind him, Felix could put up perennial Cy Young-caliber numbers (including wins) every year. Plus, I'm sure if we asked him, he would tell us that he would trade 10 such awards for just one ring, something that he may never get in Seattle.
For the Mariners, trading away the cornerstone of their franchise would be hard to swallow, that's for sure. However, the return that they would receive in exchange for their ace would be well worth their while.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has always said he would never trade players like Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances...unless it was for someone like King Felix. So that means that, to start, the M's would get the Yankees' top three prospects, three of the best young high-ceiling players in the game. They could probably also get the Yankees to throw in Eduardo Nunez, and maybe even Phil Hughes.
So right there, you have the Mariners acquiring two young studs for their rotation to replace Hernandez, a power bat who would either catch or DH, an offensive-minded shortstop with speed and a former All-Star starter with bullpen experience. Someone explain to me why a trade like this is unfair to the Mariners.
Should the Mariners trade King Felix to the Yankees?
Jack Zduriencik has made it quite clear time and time again that he has no plans to trade Felix Hernandez, a man who is gradually replacing Ichiro Suzuki as the face of the franchise. However, with the Mariners clearly in rebuilding mode, the bounty that they would receive in return for Felix would probably speed up their return to contention by around five years.
They pulled the trigger on the Doug Fister trade this season, and the return is already benefiting them, so why not do the same with King Felix?
Besides, 2012 is the year in which Hernandez starts to make the big bucks, with his salaries from 2012-2014 being $18.5 million, $19.5 million and $20 million. Can the Mariners really afford that salary? Even if they can, freeing up all that money to spend on other players would greatly benefit the team, and how many interested teams can afford to take on all of that salary all by themselves?
Not many, that's for sure, but the Yankees are one of the few. Not many teams will offer all of their top prospects and agree to take on all of what is a pretty hefty salary all by themselves. But the Yankees will, and the Mariners have thus far been ridiculous to not trade Hernandez while he is still at top value.
Trading Hernandez last offseason following his masterful 2010 season would have been the smart move. But luckily, the Yankees are still in love with King Felix and will probably be willing to forget the 3.47 ERA he posted in 2011.
The Mariners need to trade Felix Hernandez if they want any chance of winning a World Series in the near future, and they need to trade him to the New York Yankees if they want to receive the best return possible.
Well, that's all I have to say, but I'm sure you guys have plenty of opinions on this particular topic. Go ahead; give me your worst, but let's try not to get too personal here. We're all entitled to our opinions, but let's keep it G-rated, OK?
Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSbalcio
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