Why Can't the Mariners Sign Felix Hernandez?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst ISeptember 17, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim on September 8, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

This little nugget about Felix Hernandez caught my eye:

"Felix will be an affordable, young, dynamic budding superstar of a pitcher in 2010. And his home is at the moment unknown. The Mariners don't have the talent to contend against the Angels in the AL West, and it appears that they'd rather trade Felix now, while they can still get a boatload of young talent for him, rather than wait for him to become a free agent and skip town."

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Mariners would want to trade Felix Hernandez now or anytime in the near future. As the author noted, Felix Hernandez is cheap, young, and a dynamic starting pitcher. While he's under the Mariners control, they should be building around him, not looking to blow the whole thing up.

And further, why can't the Mariners sign Felix Hernandez to an extension or even re-sign him once he reaches free agency? The Mariners are not a financially strapped organization. They are not the Rays, Marlins, or Twins.

In fact, their $98 million dollar payroll this year and $117 million dollar payroll last year actually suggests that the Mariners are much closer to the Yankees and Red Sox in terms of payroll.

So why does everyone assume that Felix is simply just going to leave the Mariners? Sure, any deal with Felix Hernandez (like Tim Lincecum) is going to have to be outside the box and unique because a player of Hernandez's ability and age only comes around once in a generation, but the Mariners have funds to spend.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Mariners only have $41 million dollars committed next season as the contracts of Adrian Beltre, Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn, and Erik Bedard come off the books.

That's why I can't understand why everyone is thinking solely about trading Felix Hernandez. Considering how much money they have coming off the books this season, NOW would be the time to discuss a contract extension with Hernandez.

I hope the Mariners hold on to Felix Hernandez for the foreseeable future for two reasons:

1. Seattle doesn't deserve to watch another prized talent skip town
2. There is no way the Mariners would receive equal value for Felix Hernandez.

I'll end with one word:



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