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Salk: Mariners fans should be prepared for what could be Félix Hernández’s last start

The Mariners have made no commitments about Félix Hernández's future in the rotation. (AP)

Félix Hernández is starting for the Mariners tonight, and it is very possible this is his last start of the season. No one has promised him another one – including his manager.

Drayer: With no more guarantees, appreciate Félix while you still can

“Félix struggling of late, it does raise some questions of where we’re going here,” manager Scott Servais said Wednesday on Brock and Salk. “… We’re going to give him the ball, the Blue Jays will be in town, hopefully he gives us a good outing, but we’ll see how that goes and see where we’re at from there.”

Erasmo Ramirez is just about ready to return from injury, and I have to wonder if Félix even would have made this start if they had a better option (and if Roenis Elias had been healthy instead of on the disabled list).

I don’t think the Mariners can make a decision based on this one start – Servais said again Wednesday that he hasn’t seen vintage Félix in his three years here – but they have to follow a simple rule: pitch the five best starters. Right now with Elias hurt and Erasmo not ready, Félix is still one of the five best on the roster. But will that still be true in five days?

If it isn’t, this may be the last chance to see him start this year. If he could be removed from the rotation this year, then no roster spot would likely be guaranteed next year – the final season of his contract. Followed through to the end, this could possibly be the last start for Félix as a Mariner.

I hope fans are ready for this. Not because they need to steel themselves for the event, but because it would be a great chance to honor a legend.

And not just any legend.

A Cy Young Award-winning ace who was as loyal as anyone has ever been to this fan base.

I’d love to see that bond between a King and his subjects even if it’s for the last time. I hope the King’s Court is loud and proud. And when his night is done, I hope he leaves to a thunderous, long ovation, regardless of his stats for the night.

He deserves it.

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