Yesterday it was announced that Felix Hernandez will be signing a 5-year, $135 million extension with the Seattle Mariners. He is currently under a contract that goes through the end of the 2014 season so this deal will keep him with the Mariners through the 2019 season.
King Felix is one of the best pitchers in MLB today and is worth the money he will get. However, is it the right move for the Mariners? I don’t think so.
The Mariners have the worst offense in baseball. I’m not talking about for just last season; they have had the worst offense for three years in a row and I do not expect that to change this season. Having Felix as the face of the franchise is great (especially as a way to sell tickets), but Felix only pitches once every five days and can’t actually help the team win many games. Felix is actually penalized by being on the Mariners. Over the last three seasons, he has 10 losses where he allowed two earned runs or fewer – on almost any other team that would be an additional 10 wins over the same span. It’s admirable that he’s willing to stay with the Mariners but for his career it is not a smart move if he ever wants to win a World Series title.
The Mariners need offense to compete (and win games) and additional pitchers for those days that Felix isn’t pitching. Wrapping up $27 million a year in a guy who only plays once every five days isn’t smart lon- term – unless the team has plans to spend more on offense than they have in the past and this is just the first of those moves (I don’t believe it is, but it is a possbility).
Felix is still young (he turns 27 in April) so the Mariners should get a lot of value out of him over the contract. However, unless the team plans on upping the overall payroll, that will be another seven years of turning fantastic starts from Hernandez into losses by the team because they can’t score.
With such a large contract, they are also severely limiting themselves when it comes to potentially trading Hernandez in the coming years. Only certain teams will be willing to take on a contract that large (i.e. the New York Yankees) and even then you can bet they will insist the Mariners eat a large portion of the contract (like the Yankees made the Rangers do when they acquired ARod from them). There will come a point when the Mariners will need to rebuild (this point has already happened) and they will realize that by getting rid of Felix, they free up enough money to bring in three or four quality players that can actually contribute to the team’s wins and losses on a daily basis.
While I understand why the Mariners did it, I just can’t see the long-term benefits from it. I could be wrong but only time will tell.
What do you think? Was this the right move for the Mariners long-term? Vote in the poll below and comment.
Is the contract extension for Felix Hernandez the right move for the Mariners long term?
- Yes (50%, 4 Votes)
- No (50%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 8
About the Author: Rich Stowe
Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com. Rich is currently serving as the Managing Editor of Sports Unbiased.com