Felix’s struggles make me want him more

Sep 8, 2009, 8:59 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:51 pm

by Mike Salk

Whether or not to trade Felix Hernandez will be the question of the off-season fof the Mariners. You know it; I know it; Jack Zduriencik knows it; Felix knows it. There are legitimate arguments to be made on both sides, and over the course of the next few months, I’ll probably change my mind 100 times before he is either signed or traded.

But watching him struggle in the third inning tonight (when he walked the bases loaded) made me hope that he stays in Seattle long-term. Yeah, it was watching Felix struggle to find the plate that made me want him here even more.

And it’s because it was so shocking.

Felix has reached the point where it feels weird every time he isn’t perfect. Where each hit is frustrating and each walk is almost shocking. And the last pitcher I’ve felt that way about was Pedro Martinez in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

In all of our conversations about the merits of giving a pitcher the “big contract”, we’ve used the most recent examples of Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown and Barry Zito. But think back 11 years to when the Red Sox extended the contract of the newly acquired Pedro. They gave him six years and $75 million. I’m not sure exactly how that translates into 2009 dollars, but it can’t be too far off from what we expect Felix to command. And if he gives them anythng close to what Pedro gave during that contract? It would be a steal at twice the price!

There are no easy answers and I reserve the right to change my mind 100 more times. But today, I’d like to see the M’s figure out a way to keep Felix here. He might be the next Pedro.

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Felix’s struggles make me want him more