Back in 2005, Pitcher Felix Hernandez was dubbed ‘King Felix’ down in A-ball for his dynamic arm, made his debut at age 19.
Seven seasons later, this King has earned the title; as King Felix is one of the most lethal pitchers in baseball today. Unfortunately, the 2010 CY Young winner plays for the Mariners who have been the bottom feeders of the AL West, a place they still remain today.
Over his career, King Felix has a 3.20 ERA, over 179 starts, posting a 74-59 record, with 1087 strikeouts, 14 shutouts and has clocked 1202 innings total. Keep in mind that if he played on any other team the King’s wins-loses and ERA would be much lower.
Now, you can only imagine the New York Yankees along with every other team in baseball have been drooling over King Felix for some time now.
Presumably the Mariners front office has listened to numerous offers to obtain the King, especially before they signed him to a four-year extension. I can assure you that a few calls came from the Yankees who would love to get their claws on the 25-year-old, who has yet to reach his prime.
Over this past winter, Yankee fans were hoping for a King under their Christmas tree, but Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik made it clear that was never going to happen. Zduriencik had already screwed the Yankees in Cliff Lee trade, by using New York as leverage to bait the Texas Rangers to get Seattle even more players.
That did NOT fair well with Yankees GM Brian Cashman, but it didn’t stop him from pursuing Felix.
Even though the 2011 Yankees are off to a hot start, reloading mid-season if a top pitcher is available is almost guaranteed.
With the Mariners standing at 13-16 and sitting pretty in a familiar last place in the AL West, trading for some young minor leaguers would be a smart move to build for the future.
The Yankees have exactly this kind-of young talent to dangle in front of teams without denting their newly built farm system too much.
In comes Mariners rookie Michael Pineda, a 6-foot-7 right-hander who struck out 396 batters in just over 404 innings pitch in the minor leagues. Pineda won the fifth spot in the Mariners rotation this spring and was the first Mariner rookie ever to make the starting rotation to start the season.
At a ripe 22-years-of-age, Pineda has now made five major-league starts, and it would seem that his transition has been flawless. Pineda has posted a 4-1 record, maintains a 2.01 ERA, with 30 strikeouts, giving up zero homers over 32 innings pitched.
At this rate the newly hailed pitching Prince would end the season with a 27-7 record, pitching 213 innings and fanning 204 batters. The likelihood that Pineda’s first big league season ends up like this is not going to happen, but winning 10-13 games before the All-Star break on the Mariners is a feat in itself and that could be possible.
Pineda throws first pitch strikes 72% of the time, has complete control of his large physique because he can repeat his deliveries and already has the mindset of controlling the pace of a game.
This newly donned Prince has been getting praise everywhere; even ESPN’s Buster Onley has mentioned Rookie Of The Year and possibly a CY Young candidate in his article about Pineda. While Onley’s ESPN colleague Jim Caple also wrote a nice piece about the new Prince who joined the King.
Okay Yankee fans you can start drooling.
The question remains whether Zduriencik will try to screw Cashman again by driving up the price or using the Yankee name to squeeze another team?
Zduriencik knows the Yankees have some key young and talented pieces that the Mariners need, but whether he is even serious about building a contending team remains to be seen.
Yes, because Seattle doesn’t have the leverage financially to do much and getting a top player to come to a crappy team is going to cost. The Mariners fell flat in 2010, when even I predicted them to take the AL West but instead they finished dead last in baseball winning just 61 games.
Mariner fans are not happy and the amount of empty seats at the ballpark can attest to that. My cousin and her husband just moved to Seattle and both have confirmed that the best seat in the house is way under $100. She actually said it made her feel sad, but she does come from a Yankee family so I blame it more on missing the pinstripes.
Regardless, I can promise you that Pineda is on Cashman’s radar but the days of screwing the Yankees just because their the Yankees are way over.
Remember the Yankees are resilient, so not obtaining a player from a team that is asking way more only winds up screwing themselves down the road. Let’s hope Seattle plays fair this time because this kid looks really good, but not worth handing the entire farm system or Robinson Cano like Zduriencik said would be a starting point for Felix a year ago.
Just keep an eye on Michael Pineda cause this could get interesting as the season progresses.
The Prince of New York……doesn’t that have a nice ring to it???!!!!
- Seattle Mariners rookie phenom Michael Pineda is taking charge on the mound (sports.espn.go.com)
- Working the Wire: Seattle Mariner Starting Pitcher Michael Pineda (bleacherreport.com)
- Michael Pineda Impressive in MLB Debut, but Seattle Mariners Lose to Rangers 3-2 (bleacherreport.com)
- Mariners camp report: Depose King Felix? Surely you jest (cbssports.com)
- King Felix and Prince Pineda? Mariners hand rotation spot to 22-year-old top prospect (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Swisher helps Yankees swat White Sox: AL roundup (cbc.ca)
- Seattle Mariners Game 21 (dmcnic.wordpress.com)