The Thing About Trading Felix: It Defies All Rational Thought

As we’re all well aware, the annual chatter of the Seattle Mariners trading Felix (will they, won’t they, should they?) has started up again this week thanks to Ken Rosenthal and his HUGE FUCKING BONER for seeing Felix in a Yankees uniform.

Are there merits?  Of course there are fucking merits.  Rehash them all you like, but we GET IT!  The Mariners are shitty.  The Mariners are probably going to still be shitty next year.  It’s debatable how shitty those 2013 Mariners are going to be, but suffice it to say, unless they’re willing to bring in the moon and the stars (via a huge payroll jack) – which probably isn’t even possible because there won’t be THAT many impact free agents this off-season – the Mariners probably won’t contend for anything but (at best) one of the two Wild Card slots.

On the flipside, the Mariners have this guy named Felix Hernandez.  He’s quite good.  He’s kind of, like, this All Star, Cy Young Award-Winning starting pitcher who is probably the hottest commodity who isn’t really a commodity because HE’S FUCKING OURS AND SHUT YOUR FUCKING WHORE MOUTH!

Ahem.

Anyway, this guy, King Felix, is signed with the Mariners through the 2014 season.  Logic would dictate (not necessarily MY logic, or the logic of sane human beings; more like the kind of logic people use to write articles and blog posts because they want extra traffic and they want people talking about them ad nauseum) that if you’re not going to be good in 2013, then you’re REALLY putting all your eggs in that 2014 basket.  Because if you’re not good in 2014, then what are your chances of re-signing Felix?  THEN, you’ve just given away the best free agent starting pitcher of a generation for nothing.

Here’s what’s wrong with that, first and foremost:  people like me, people who love King Felix and hope like bloody hell that he will be in our lives forever and ever … it’s not like we’re convinced the guy is going to sign a contract extension with the Seattle Mariners.  He is going to command a truckload of money, AND he just might not want to come back because he will be entirely sick & tired of losing by the end of the 2014 season.  There are too many things to worry about in this scenario to be confident in the least that Felix would re-sign with Seattle.

But, you know what would make me 100% sure he WON’T re-sign with Seattle?  IF WE FUCKING TRADE HIM TO ANOTHER TEAM!

So, that’s first of all.

The second order of business is the state of the Seattle Mariners as it currently stands, and as it projects in the near future (being seasons 2013 and 2014).  We can’t assume this ownership group will be willing to increase payroll because what reason have they given us to assume that?  They’ve LOWERED payroll each of the last three offseasons.  I’m more confident in this team lowering payroll even FURTHER in this upcoming offseason than I am in them raising it.

So, essentially, what I’m saying here is:  what you see is what you get.  A team that’s batting .239.  A team that is 16th in runs scored and is near the very bottom of all of baseball in on-base & slugging percentages.  We’ve got a lot of young hitters – Seager, Montero, Ackley, Saunders, Smoak, Wells – who have had varying degrees of success this season, but who aren’t really THERE.  And, quite frankly, might NEVER be “there”, wherever that is.  “Good”, I guess.

Yeah, you can be a Debbie Downer about these guys.  Lord knows I’m a Debbie Downer about most things, but who could blame me?  Yeah, this offense is bad now, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to continue to be bad forever.  Players mature!  Players get stronger!  Players improve!

You know what Justin Smoak is?  He’s an inconsistent, warning-track power first baseman.  You know what he could be if he packed on another 20-30 pounds of muscle?  He could be a middle-of-the-order masher a la Jay Buhner in his heyday.  Yeah, he might always bat .250, but if he figured out a way to hit 30-40 homers, who gives a shit?

You know what Kyle Seager is?  He’s a tough-nosed gap hitter with some amazing pop in his bat.  Give him the rest of this season and the next to get used to the AL and being a Major Leaguer and I bet you he rips off a .300+ batting average for the duration of his prime.

You know what Michael Saunders is?  He’s the leadoff man of the future.  One with speed, but one also with incredible power who will be able to knock home a bunch of runs.

In the matter of these young Mariners hitters, I choose to be optimistic.  Because I HAVE to be optimistic.  Because otherwise, these last three seasons have been for absolutely nothing, and I just don’t think I can go through that again.

These guys, these Ken Rosenthals and Geoff Bakers, they seem to think that what we have now is what we’re always going to have.  That’s why I find it hard to buy in to all of these sabermetric numbers.  They’re fine for trying to project established players; but they’re just about meaningless when you’re talking about young players who will inevitably improve (they’re also meaningless when you’ve got a guy like Ichiro or Chone Figgins who are clearly at the ends of their careers; trying to predict future performance based on the past with a guy who has fallen off the cliff is an effort in futility).

Yes, trading Felix would bring in a buttload of players.  But, whenever anyone talks about trading Felix, it’s always about trading Felix for another team’s PROSPECTS.  Granted, their very best prospects, but if you’re the Mariners and you’re going to trade your only marketable commodity (and, really, your only super-good player), you can’t be in a position where you’re then spending the subsequent two seasons rounding more prospects into Major League form!  You’ve got to be ready to make a considerable jump towards contention!  Because the fans won’t tolerate shit like trading your best player for a bunch of nobodies if the team is still going to continue to suck dick every season!

If you trade Felix, then you better get back at least one All Star, minimum.  A guy who is young, a guy who has already produced at the Big League level, a guy who you don’t have to worry about.  Because, with prospects, there ARE no sure things.  There just aren’t.

Do you understand, Ken Rosenthal, why people in Seattle get so upset at you every time you write one of these pointless articles?  Not only are you beating a dead horse into a bloody, pink mush, but you’re fucking with our EMOTIONS!  Because being a fan of a player – especially one as charismatic and one as transcendent as King Felix – means being totally irrational about that player!

We’re Annie Wilkes from Misery.  We’re Jennifer Jason Leigh from Single White Female.  We’re this girl:

When you have something as precious as Felix Hernandez, you don’t want to think about things like “Contracts” and “Extensions” and “The Future”, unless that future is of you, jumping up and down as Felix locks down Game 7 of the World Series with his first-ever Perfect Game in a Mariners uniform.  You’re NOT rational!  Because no rational amount of professional baseball booty in return will be enough.  When you’ve got a Felix Hernandez, you expect no less than three or four All Stars in the primes of their careers!  Because you’re delusional.

And because you know how important someone like Felix Hernandez is to the success of a ballclub.  To have an Ace, a guy to come in every five days and stop any losing streak, a guy who will take care of your bullpen when they’re taxed in the month of August, a guy who gives you an undeniable edge in any 5-game series because you know he’s going to pitch twice and you know he’s going to make the other team’s life absolutely miserable.  It’s why everybody wants him!

And it’s why everybody writes articles about why the Mariners should trade him.  We already know what’s in it for the other team; what’s in it for the Mariners?  Seems to me it just means losing a Once-In-A-Lifetime talent for some other team’s magic beans.  No thanks.  We already foolishly gave up on Randy Johnson just as he was entering his Massive Dominance phase.  I don’t want to see the Mariners give up on the same thing in Felix Hernandez.

Because, if you don’t think he’s going to win multiple Cy Young Awards when he’s in his early-to-mid 30s like Randy did, then you’re NUTS!

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