In the wake of Wednesday’s perfect game, there were some suggestions that the Seattle Mariners could get no higher price for right-handed ace Felix Hernandez than they could at this very moment.
While that’s undoubtedly true — Hernandez’s 1-0 win over Tampa Bay included a dozen strikeouts — it’s also misguided.
The Mariners have already traded Ichiro Suzuki, and if the Mariners were to also trade Hernandez, they’d be sending a message to their fans that the hoped-for turnaround in the Mariners’ prospects is much further off than previously suggested.
The fact is that Hernandez is the bedrock on which general manager Jack Zduriencik needs to build. He’s one of the two or three best pitchers in the game, he’s only 26 and he loves playing in Seattle.
There is an argument that the Mariners have the best pitcher in the game right now. In his last 11 starts, Hernandez is 7-0 with a 1.56 ERA.
And three times this season he’s been the starting pitcher when the Mariners, who continue to have trouble scoring runs, have pulled out 1-0 wins.
So while it’s true that some general managers elsewhere might be inclined to pay top dollar for Hernandez, the return wouldn’t be able to do what Hernandez does for the organization.
“This is his home and he doesn’t hide it,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said. “We were all pulling for him to get this.”