Ex-Mariners RHP Félix Hernández reportedly signs with Atlanta Braves
Jan 20, 2020, 2:42 PM | Updated: 4:08 pm
After 15 seasons with the Mariners, King Félix has reportedly found a new team to try to continue his career with.
Félix Hernández, the longtime Seattle star pitcher, has agreed to compete for a spot with the Atlanta Braves in spring training, according to the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
King Felix Hernandez signs NRI deal with Braves.
$1,000,000. Will try for 5th starter
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2020
Hernández, 33, hit free agency for the first time at the end of the 2019 season after a decorated tenure with the Mariners that began when he was just 19 years old.
According to the Associated Press, Hernández’s contract with Atlana is a minor league deal with a spring training invitation, and he would earn $1 million in 2020 if he makes the MLB roster.
A six-time All-Star and the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, Hernández has struggled in recent years with injuries and inconsistency. He went 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA and 1.535 WHIP in 2019 with Seattle, a season in which he was placed on the injured list twice – once in May for a shoulder issue, then a shorter stint for lower back stiffness in July.
Hernández is sixth among all active pitchers with 2,524 strikeouts and is tied for sixth among all active pitchers with 169 career wins.
While the 2019 season wasn’t a particularly memorable one for Hernández on the mound, it’s unlikely his final start for the Mariners will be forgotten any time soon. He allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings, striking out three in a teary and emotional sendoff in front of the T-Mobile Park crowd.
While Hernández has found a new team, he has work in front of him if he’s going to make the Braves’ roster and starting rotation. As a non-roster invite, he will have to beat another player out to get a spot on both Atlanta’s active and 40-man rosters. That’s easier said than done, as the Braves have seven starting pitchers currently listed on their MLB.com depth chart: Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried, Cole Hamels, Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb and Brian Wilson.
If Hernández does make the Braves’ roster, he very well could pitch once again in Seattle, and rather soon. Atlanta comes to T-Mobile Park for a three-game series from May 29-31.