The fate of the franchise of the Seattle Mariners hangs perilously in the balance.
Felix Hernandez has established himself as one of the most dominating pitchers in recent baseball history. As a Cy Young winner and Seattle Mariner icon, Felix Hernandez makes Seattle baseball relevant. With Ichiros declining skills the franchise has been placed on the back of their ace. They signed him to a 5 year $80 million deal, but that’s not going to be enough. Felix Hernandez will soon be a free agent, and before he reaches the ripe age of 28, he’s bound to get monster deals from salivating powerhouses like the Cubbies or the Red Sox or the Yankees.
Sounds familiar out here in the Pacific Northwest. Alex Rodriguez fled to Texas for the biggest contract in Baseball history in the year 2000 and got a quarter of a billion dollars. Rodriguez was probably the best player in the world at that time. And who knows how many more Cy Youngs Felix will win. How many no-hitters he could get, how many wins he could collect (especially as a Yankee), how much he can dominate in October.
It’s possible Felix never pitches in October for Seattle. But he will see the bright lights. The Mariners have never produced a pitcher quite as special as the King. In 25 years, in Cooperstown, we could have a few Mariners finally enshrined in the Hall. With Griffey a first ballot in the waiting, and Ichiro’s career in a downslide and Edgar getting votes for the foreseeable future, King Felix could another name in great Seattle Mariners. Safeco Field can feature a statue sculpted from bronze in center field, Felix pointing to the sky in ecstasy.
It’s possible he throws out his arm, fresh into his new contract. It’s possible he just kind of loses his stuff, like Barry Zito. It’s possible he hampers the ball club for more than five years with an empty salary and a torn rotators cuff. But that’s the story for every single pitcher in the league. It’s a hazardous job, but perhaps the most important, that top of the line starter. That ace.
The Seattle Mariners have to understand the implications of these actions, and be aware of their history, because it often times repeats itself. Before Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez really got a chance to gel, with Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson, it blew up. Then they lost for the next ten years. They finally have a nucleus now, and while their not your father’s Mariners, they still got some talent.
All hail the King.