Mariners legend Felix Hernandez may have taken the ball for the last time as a member of the organization on Thursday. In what seems likely to go down as his goodbye to the M’s franchise, King Felix threw 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball against the Athletics before an emotionally charged exit from the field in Seattle.
Even though Hernandez’s phenomenal tenure as a Mariner may have just drawn to a close, the right-hander hopes his career hasn’t. Hernandez told Greg Johns of MLB.com and other reporters after the game that his goal is to pitch in 2020.
“We’ll see if I can find a job. I’m not retiring,” the 33-year-old said.
For the extreme majority of his career, it would have been ludicrous to wonder if Hernandez was capable of landing a job in the majors. Unfortunately, though, that’s no longer the case for the longtime ace, six-time All-Star and one-time AL Cy Young winner.
Hernandez inked his current contract – the seven-year, $175MM extension he signed in 2013 – at the height of his powers, but injuries and the significant amount of mileage on his arm have taken their toll over the past couple seasons. In fact, since 2018, no starter with at least 200 innings has posted a worse ERA (5.84) or a higher FIP (5.41) than Hernandez. He ran up an even uglier 6.40 ERA/6.01 FIP across 71 2/3 innings this season, during which shoulder problems kept him out from the first half of May until the second half of August.
Based on the rough turn Hernandez’s production has taken of late, it appears the pending free agent will be in line for a minor league contract in the offseason (if anyone signs him, that is). But if Thursday proves to be the final time Hernandez takes a major league mound, it’ll count as one of the most memorable sendoffs the game has seen in recent history.
Class act whether making minimum or millions he worked his hardest and had heart
Really? Worked his hardest? His conditioning has LONG been a major issue. He might have been good with fans, but as soon as he cashed in, he also checked out on his responsibility to maintain his physical condition.
You have no idea what you’re talking about. He was an All Star and Cy Young candidate the first 3 years into that extension and productive through 2016 before injuries took their toll.
Physical conditioning was only a question after 2016 and you can’t just dump the blame on him. He’s had various pitching coaches telling him different things and the reality is that natural wear and tear affects everyone at some point, regardless.
But yeah, take a cheap shot and believe that he sold out. He is the polar opposite of a sell-out. He took less to stay with a poorly run organization, continued to produce for the better part of the contract and never made excuses.
You’re flat out wrong.
Stevil he is not flat out wrong. Everyone with good eyes can see that his conditioning was poor
His physical conditioning became an issue before the beginning of the 2015 season. His usual routine during spring training became ineffective and the pride acclaimed from his successful seasons prior to led him to refusing to adapt despite evidence that such was necessary.
Is the Mariners organization responsible? Yes.
Is Hernández also responsible? Yes.
Cards, did you bother to read everything I wrote? Try that, then get back to me.
Jacob, you’re missing the point. He was still very productive in 2015 and he didn’t “check out” upon signing the extension.
Seriously, are any of you paying attention to what was said in the initial comment that sparked my response?
Flat. Out. Wrong.
I read your comment stevil, but mine was never meant as a rebuttal. It was merely a perspective on how his decline all came to be that no one but me asked for.
That’s fine. I get your comment is an argument against martas’s claim that Hernández gave up once he cashed in. I agree with your statement.
If My prior comment did have any rebuttal, it’s against your claim of physical conditioning becoming an issue after the 2016 season. I am certain that the article is correct in claiming it was during the spring training prior to the 2015 season.
However, I understand that:
A. No article, without absolute (or “enough”) evidence, can be confirmed as true or false.
B. It’s only one source.
C. Everyone has their own beliefs.
So despite my disagreement on that point, I ask that we do not debate it and merely agree with our own conclusions as fact.
With that all said, I agree with your main point, respectively disagree with your point regarding ‘when’ physical condition hurt Hernandez’s career, and wish you well in life.
I never suggested his conditioning wasn’t an issue after 2016. There has been plenty made of that in recent years. But there were plenty of good years after the second extension with less questions about his ability to adapt. With time and decline, they grew. The drastic decline came later, though.
He was and always has been unwilling to change. He doesn’t like SABR at all and never adapted to losing velocity. He could still be an effective pitcher, if he let his ego die and realize he doesn’t have the same stuff he continuously thinks he does. Love the guy but he’s as stubborn as they come and that has been noted many times amongst many sources. That’s when he started his decline. When he just kept trying to be the same Felix when he could have gone more the Jamie Moyer route. Granted he never had heat on his arm.
King Felix, you have been one of the most exciting pitchers to play the game. Go out in style sir!
It would be picture perfect for tonight to be his grand exit. He was a guy I respected and admired even as he was often dazzling my team with un-hittable pitches.
It was an amazing send off and I will always wish Felix the best. This franchise let him down in a lot of ways and he stuck it out, which says a lot about his character and his loyalty. Moore’s amazing run saving catch was exactly the type of thing you want to see in game like this, it epitomized the feelings of all the fans, and was a reflection of what he meant to his teammates. Really wanted the W for Felix, but it wasn’t meant to be. At least he got some K’s.
It really doesn’t feel like he’s only 33. Hopefully he can figure it out and gets an opportunity next year.
I thought the same thing. But he was pitching in the big leagues at 19.
Because he’s still relatively young, I wonder if a year off to fully rest his arm might allow him to extend his career a few years.
Not an M’s fan but gettin’ a lil misty watchin’ that, ain’t gonna lie.
I saw the game tonight. Live on tv…
Powerful Recognition by the Fans. Good Luck Dude. !
The King will be back…
l’d say the only mistake he made is he stayed with the Mariners too long. The team’s been too “peaceful” for him. He needs a team that’s contending. Get back on the “front line” and he’ll get his pitch back. After all, baseball is just like war.
DISRESPECTFUL as HELL!!!
Shut up, and sit down. In the back of the room, clown.
I would have to imagine the orioles would consider offering him a minor league deal if he wants to continue on. Probably the best shot he has at cracking a big league rotation. Can’t get much easier competition than the likes of Wojo, Hess, and Aaron Brooks.
The Tigers have several younger options and already have an “ace” whose getting a reputation for arm problems with Fulmer.
The tigers have a number of young arms that are close but they aren’t going to start the year in Detroit. I’d be surprised if the Tigers don’t add starting pitching. I think Baltimore is a better landing spot for him at this point though. Detroit realistically has 4 rotation locks already if Fulmer is healthy. I would imagine they also bring Matt Moore back into the mix. Harder division to pitch in, sure but the opportunity to pitch seems a lot easier.
May as well just give him a major league contract. Everyone else on this staff is just as bad except Means and Bundy on a rare good day
The hitter-friendly AL East might not be a great place to attempt a rebound. A west coast team might make a better fit, though I’m sure simply finding a gig is the priority regardless of where that might be.
if he wants the easiest division to pitch in then the AL central would be the target.
I was thinking LAA, but yeah, the central would make sense as well.
The Angels probably have as many vacancies as the Orioles currently do. I would imagine they have playoff aspirations next season and would be looking a tier better than King Felix. But if they were interested, sure. He’d be able to stay on the WC and pitch on a competitive team at the very least.
I say Marlins, but only if they feel some of their young arms in the bigs need more time to hone themselves in the minors. He’d also provide a veteran presence, since Curtis Granderson will be vacating that role after his contract expires after this year.
Plus I think he’d rock that Marlins jersey.
It must be a conflicting choice to keep playing for so many guys after their big career defining contract is up, where they were relevant and on a cushy deal at the major league level, but they’d have to travel with a minor league ball club if they kept playing, or they have to play for a tiny amount of money, knowing its additional wear and tear on their body, additional time away from family, additional dents in their career numbers from when they peaked however long ago and every so often a guy will take that 1 year/$1M roster bonus minor league invite and turn it into a 1 or 2 year deal the next season back in the $7-10M range and have a resurgence…but I don’t think that’s the case with Felix Hernandez. It seems like he’s done physically, as a starter.
Would he really want to be a reliever? Would someone pay him more than the league minimum or just slightly more out of respect?
Assuming the Yankees go all in on pitching with Garrett Cole and Domingo German might be out for good, he’s about the cheapest arm with the highest upside they could sign and if he’s woeful they’ll just stop using him
Pitchers have an advantage though where you can have a showcase and put up velo numbers that say your worth a deal. It would be a minor league deal, but probably would have decent incentives then you can go to ST with a team and opt out if they cant fit you but your looking good.
One good season gets him a decent 3 year Rich Hill deal, and who knows maybe another Org could help him find a new way to win with his diminished stuff. He could explore taking a season off to let his arm bounce back a little from all the milage. Or he could hit driveline this winter and try and rework his stuff, maybe add a pitch or two and become more of a junk baller.
If Im Felix I start re-inventing myself this winter, and go to ST with a team, if the results aren’t there yet keep working on it instead of toiling in AAA. Lots more pitchers have taken some time off before making it back for several decent years lately. I think Felix is maybe in the hall as it stands, but getting to 3K K’s 200 Wins and some of the other important numbers would lock him in for sure, so I think he is motivated to keep going.
To be honest other then one pitch to Chapman I thought he pitched one of the best games in a long while, and I was surprised by the velo readings where his pitches looked sharper then they had in a while. I think if getting back to being a MLB SP on a good team is what he really wants he has a second act in him. Sabathia took some time to figure out how to work with diminished stuff Jamie Moyer through 80MPH heaters at almost 50. I think he should work on a second changeup or split that is closer to his curve velo having a slow FB hard CH and slow CH would give him more looks and deception. Maybe work in a 2 seam or Cutter. He has been slowing losing the slider anyways so replace that with a second CH, and work in a FB that moves different from the one he throws now.
Oh come one… look I wish Felix the best and do hope he can have a resurgence and find things again in his mid 30s and maybe make a run at being a decent mid-rotation arm for a year or two but the Yankees…? That’s just stupid — there’s NO chance the Yankees want anything to do with him. If he has any shot at all of making a comeback it’s going to be with a non-condensing team on a minor league deal and he’ll have to pitch his way into the rotation. Best case scenario he works his a** off and succeeds and maybe even becomes a trade chip at the deadline. But he sure as heck isn’t going to do that with the Yankees — that just doesn’t make any sense. The Yankees will have 5+ starters lined up to start the year and if Hernandez signed with them he’d have no shot of cracking the rotation out of camp… which obviously wouldn’t make sense for him. If he does sign it’ll be with a team that actually has a potential path to a rotation spot and he’ll come into camp and try to prove he’s still got something left in the tank. I do really hope/am pulling for him to pull it off. But saying he’ll go to the Yankees because he’s the “cheapest arm available” is just absurd.
I don’t think the Yankees are such an impossible choice for him. The Yankees rotation right now for next year is Severino, Paxton, Tanaka and Happ. They do have Montgomery, who is pitching again after TJS surgery, but CC is done after this year and German is a question mark now with the recent domestic issue. If he’s willing to sign a minor league deal, I think they would definitely be interested with the hope that he can re-invent himself with the help from a good coaching staff and become a 4 or 5th starter if there are injuries (which there will be).
This is no different than their signing of Gio Gonzalez this year and similar deals every team does throughout the year to get some potential high reward depth. Teams thought Verlander was toast a couple years ago and that seems to have worked out pretty well for him and the Astros. Any team would be stupid not to take a flyer on him on a low risk deal either as a potential trade chip or depth. That is what good teams do.
The Yankees are going to have a lot of competition for Cole.
He’s such a great guy and was such an amazing pitcher for years on a terrible Mariners team… I do really hope he can find something and make some sort of Renaissance comeback because that would really be awesome for him and baseball as a whole. By the way things look now… it doesn’t look good. But there have been plenty of guys that looked burnt out and then rediscovered/reinvented themselves and made a comeback for a year or two… and if anyone deserves to be given a shot to do that — it’s him! I wish him the best!!
The current Johan Santana…a team like the rangers will take a flyer on him
Too bad. He really Dale Murphyed his career.
It’s a shame he has been, and continues to be, dead set against changing his approach. Stories go way back about Felix being incredibly stubborn when the signs of decline started, and because of that, he’s on the verge of being done early.
Guys with diminished stuff can still make it work – look at someone like Kershaw. Difference is, Kershaw is willing to make adjustments.
You say he’s done early, but he’s been pitching in the big leagues since he was 19 and the Mariners rode him like a rented mule at times. I don’t see why he can’t do what CC Sabathia did. He used to be a power pitcher and re-invented himself to be pretty effective over the last few years when there were signs of a similar decline. Maybe the message just needs to come from the right person.
He’s got that message already. He’s headed into free agency looking at a minors deal after coming off a 175m contract at the age of 33. If that isn’t a clear message that you can’t play like before and need to adapt, I don’t know what is.
You obviously haven’t watched him pitch this year. He has changed his approach. He has also had some good outings and some really bad outings. The problem is he has always been a slow starter and sometimes when things got rough he reverted back to his old self. The problem is his old self is old in pitching years.
Go back and look at game by game. He needs to continue working on it because this is his first year doing this. Last year he was supposed to but the bull headedness was there.
I hope Seattle tells him bring any offers to us and if we can we will match it. They still need a pitcher or two next year. Why not bring him back? They probably aren’t a contender let him have anther year here.
Would be tough to see him in an Angels or As uni. Will be interesting to follow him and see if he does pitch and where.
If he doesn’t want to retire, he should be able to land somewhere. I’m predicting the Marlins or maybe even the rangers. O’s also. Rebuilding teams that will sign him to a minor league deal and hope he can pitch well enough to eat innings.
Good to see the Seattle offense do EXACTLY what it has done throughout the Kings career up there…..score 1 run for him. I’m not sure a pitcher in the modern era, who has pitched as long as him ever had less run support than Hernandez did in Seattle. How many times did he go out and pitch and lose 1-0 or 2-1 or so.
Numbers are HOF discussion worthy, I think he’ll get in. Maybe not first ballot, but eventually.
Fact is, despite sabermetrics taking over in most people’s opinions of what makes a player great, the HoF still mostly relies upon the “counting stats” as the path to induction. Felix really doesn’t have those numbers, based on what it takes to get in. A 169-136 W/L record isn’t very enticing. Neither is his ERA at 3.42 or his 2524 K mark. His innings pitched is only at 2729 which is only good enough for 189th all time.
It’s the sabermetric-influenced voters–the newer writers–that are more likely to look past traditional stubbornness and give him votes. They’ll focus on the productive years. Whether or not those years will be enough is anyone’s guess, but there will certainly be a strong argument for induction.
He still has a Cy Young award, multiple AS game appearances and multiple top 5 CY finishes. When he won the CY award I remember it being a big deal because his W-L record was pretty poor due to the team he was on. I think you may see similar potential when his HoF ballot comes up.
He should have had 2 Cy Youngs. That year he got 2nd he was robbed! That was the year he set the MLB record for the most consecutive starts (16) of at least 7 innings, with 2 runs or fewer in each game. He also won the AL ERA title that year, 2.14. Had the lowest ERA and WHIP in the AL since Pedro Martinez in 2000.
How is that not the best pitcher in baseball that year?
Robert – agreed.
Rehab, comeback when you’re 100% someone will sign him. Lesser talents have gotten additional cracks at it.
With those numbers he could still bump Jordan Zimmerman from the rotation.
I hope he retires as a Mariner. He clearly can’t pitch effectively anymore, he has lost his fastball completely and throws beach balls to the plate.
Hope he retires a Mariners legend. No need to taint his great legacy just for the sake of pitching.
Tim Lincecum ring a bell guys?? Felix Was great.. but he’s done.. maybe a few hof votes but a nice career for a bad team.. a perfecto..I mean why feel bad? 33 and retire a multi millionaire
About the time Verlander was going through a rough patch with the Tigers, Felix’s career was on the same trajectory. Justin got through it and will be a HOFer. Felix flamed out.
Still, Felix has had an outstanding career. Go talk to Big Sexy on how to revive it.
Maybe like Lincecum he could try to reinvent himself as a reliever.
I wonder if he wouldn’t be better off taking a year off, just to recover from some of the wear and tear, and maybe start thinking of a way to retool. He’s not going to want to sign a minor league contract or get an “invite” but to do better, he needs to show he can perform, and the last few years look a lot like an accelerate age-related decline. Terrific pitcher at his (sustained) peak, probably not a HOF unless he’s able to get back on the field and be productive.
The King is dead. Long live the king
Glad he was able to have one good outing before the end of the season. Hope he figures his stuff out. Wishing King Felix the best!
Perfect candidate for the White Sox.
He’d be a good candidate for the White Sox
Not sure why he can’t just retire & have fun? He’s been playing baseball for over 25 years. Spending his entire childhood & early adult life playing the game. Take the money you have earned & enjoy your family. There’s nothing left to prove. Walk away with this great moment. It’s okay to do something else.
He should be able to find an independent league to catch on to. I doubt he’s getting a minor league offer at this point. There’s been a long and consistent track record of being ineffective now. No analytics driven MLB front office is going to even entertain a conversation.
Angels pick up for sure.
I know the guy wants to and has earned the chance but in all honesty, I think the guy is done. His arm is at least 5 years older than he is.
He proved to be one the great starting pitcher throughout his career! Chances for him to continue would be difficult for him since his pitching has not been what used to be.For now I’m pretty sure any team would love to have him under a minor league contract to a small market team.
we’ll see if he’s willing to take a non roster offer
I’d love king Felix on a Buchholz-esque but low deal to mentor the pitching staff, even if there was only a small chance he returns to form.
Watch the A’s pick him up there known to grab the old has been and making them decent
Mike Fiers has a 5.04 FIP this year, but add that to the A’s defense = 3.91 ERA.
lol any pitcher can thrive there, but they need actual-good ones that they already have in Puk and Luzardo. Felix is going to the Angels to put him a massive ERA and we all know it lol
FIP literally in its name is Fielding INDEPENDENT Pitching. It’s a math equation that has nothing to do with good or bad fielding. Mike fiers pitches well in Oakland because it’s a gigantic ballpark and he’s a fly ball pitcher. FIP has nothing at all to do w defense.
Oakland has no room for him. With the starters coming back. Next year has Puk, Lazardo, Friers, Manaea, Bassit, Megden, and Montas All competing for a starting job. Not counting Cotton. That is 8 without adding anyone.
While he’s had some nagging injuries over the past few years, there was never anything major, which made it surprising–and unfortunate–to see Hernandez fall of so quickly.
I think there’s still good baseball left in him, but if and only if, he adjusts/embraces pitching with vastly declined stuff.
Plenty of pitchers have figured out how to be effective with lesser stuff (some more successful than others) and to name a few–Zack Grienke, Anibal Sanchez, Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, even Kershaw’s stuff has taken a hit over the last few years. It’s possible, perhaps Felix could benefit from a new organization.
Great, can’t wait to see him have a 8.57 ERA for the Angels next year before he looks in the mirror and realizes he’s done.
If it wasn’t for Dylan Moore making catch of the decade with the bases loaded last night, Felix goes out with a whimper instead of the respectable line he had.
He should show respect and let a younger, better player have that job, or go to Japan or the KBO to prove he’s still got something.
King Felix to the Yanks as CC’s replacement. Mark it down.
He should have beat out Kluber for that second Cy Young.
I think now Felix goes to a NL team. He had hit a grand slam and loves to hit. I retract my earlier statement The NL it is. It won’t be the NYYs though. Their fans thought they deserved him for years and they still won’t get him. Would be funny if the Mets got him.
Felix “I’m not retiring”
30 GMs “Yes, you are”
I feel like he could re-invent himself as a closer or late inning guy. He won’t start throwing 95 mph again but with his curveball and changeup, he could become an effective one inning guy.
He starts too slow for a BP arm off you look at his numbers most damage is first or second inning.
Great pitcher! Great Career!
King Felix will find a home somewhere else.
Maybe another team approach and a different pitching coach can get him back on track, adjust his game, extend his career…
Astros? Padres? Phillies? Cincy?