A King’s Ransom
Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is next month. Here’s why the Mariners should give up star pitcher Félix Hernández now.
FÉLIX CAN’T CURE WHAT AILS THE M’S
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik insists he hasn’t been shopping his flamethrowing phenom because he wants to build a playoff-quality franchise around him. But Hernández could be 30 before the M’s even sniff the postseason again. (This is a team, let’s not forget, that scored 100 fewer runs than any other team in the American League last year.) You want to speed up the rebuilding process? Get a handful of hitters for him now.
HIS STOCK CAN’T GET ANY HIGHER
King Félix is just 25. He’s the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. And his current contract runs through 2014, meaning any team that snags him now would own him for three years. Wait another year and his value could slide.
HE’S NOT SELLING TICKETS
Trading the team’s marquee name could further alienate an already disenfranchised ticket-buying public, but it’s not as if Félix’s fans have been flocking to the 47,000-seat ballpark. He’s arguably the team’s most popular player, yet in his first two home starts attendance averaged less than 13,000.
THE MICHAEL PINEDA FACTOR
It’s still too early to call the rookie right-hander King Félix’s successor to the throne. But, through the first week of May, Pineda showed he’s got the stuff (4-2, 2.58 ERA) to be a superstar in the making.
HE’LL COMMAND A LOT IN RETURN
Two years ago, the Boston Red Sox were willing to give up five players to acquire Félix. And the San Diego Padres considered dealing Adrian Gonzalez, one of the best sluggers in the game, to get him. Trading Félix wouldn’t be a popular move at first, but when you’re as bad as the M’s, pragmatism should trump public opinion.