Braves' Felix Hernandez: I'll Retire If I Get to 200 Wins, 3,000 Strikeouts

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 19, 2020

NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Atlanta Braves pitches during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at CoolToday Park on February 22, 2020 in North Port, Florida. The Braves defeated the Orioles 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Felix Hernandez sports one of the baseball's most impressive lists of pitching accomplishments this century, but the 200-win and 3,000-strikeout milestones have eluded him thus far.

Hernandez appears to be focused on achieving those goals, saying on 710 ESPN Seattle's The Bob, Dave and Moore Show that he plans to retire if he hits those figures.  

"If I can get to that goal, I'm gonna hang my spikes," he said (h/t 710 ESPN Seattle producer/host Curtis Rogers). "I'm done."

Hernandez, who played 15 years with the Seattle Mariners before joining the Braves this offseason, is 31 wins shy of 200 victories and 476 strikeouts short of 3,000 punchouts.

The six-time All-Star and 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner has enjoyed a sensational career, but he faces a few obstacles on his path.

Namely, he's not guaranteed a spot in the Braves' starting rotation, with Kris Willis of Talking Chop writing in February that Hernandez was in a competition for the fifth starter role with Sean Newcomb, among others.

In addition, the 2020 MLB season is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no agreed-upon timetable for its return between MLB and the MLBPA.

Hernandez has also struggled over the past two years, going 9-22 with a 5.82 ERA and 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings (down from his career average of 8.3 K/9).

Injuries played a part in his struggles over the past two years, though, and if he can return healthy and regain some of his past form, then a second act in which the 34-year-old pitches a few more years and achieves his individual goals isn't implausible.