Time to hang it up Hernandez?

Pitcher+Felix+Hernandez+has+played+for+Seattle+for+over+a+decade%2C+but+some+fans+are+questioning+if+his+career+is+nearing+its+end.+
Pitcher Felix Hernandez has played for Seattle for over a decade, but some fans are questioning if his career is nearing its end.

Pitcher Felix Hernandez has played for Seattle for over a decade, but some fans are questioning if his career is nearing its end.

Photo Courtesy of Matt McGee

Photo Courtesy of Matt McGee

Pitcher Felix Hernandez has played for Seattle for over a decade, but some fans are questioning if his career is nearing its end.

Clayton Huber, Staff Reporter

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Photo Courtesy of Matt McGee
Pitcher Felix Hernandez has played for Seattle for over a decade, but some fans are questioning if his career is nearing its end.

Seattle Mariners fans are clenching their fists as the Mariners were eliminated from playing in the postseason for 16 years in a row. It seems like every year is going to be “our year”. The year that the Mariners make the playoffs, but time is running out and our star players are not getting any younger. Is it time to move on from our star players and restart from scratch?

Everyone in Seattle loves Felix Hernandez, who has been loyal to Seattle for over a decade now, but people need to realize that Hernandez is no longer a great pitcher. It has been a while since Seattle has seen Hernandez dominate, who has been injured on and off for the past couple of years, including a bicep injury that sidelined him and the recurring shoulder injury that has put him on the injured list three times now.

Hernandez, who is 31 now, has pitched over 2,500 innings for the Mariners throughout his career and is noticeably worn out. The King’s Court was created for Hernandez when he started to become a strikeout pitcher, the fans would yell and hold up “K” signs every time he would strike someone out. He is no longer King Felix who powers the King’s Court in left field every time he pitches because his ability to strike people out has diminished over the last few years.

Because Hernandez is no longer a strikeout pitcher, so it is to be seen if he can adapt his pitching style as he becomes less dominant with age. The game is changing at such a high rate, with young pitchers throwing the ball harder and hitters getting better, it is only making it more difficult for Hernandez to get back to his Cy Young days, the most prestigious pitching award.  Any Mariner fan can look back and remember the day Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game, or struck out 10 batters while leading the Mariners to a win. Sadly, those days are over.

If you look at the teams in the playoffs, you will see that most of the talent on their teams are younger players. The Mariners on the other hand rely on the success of second basemen Robinson Cano, designated hitter Nelson Cruz and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, who are all in their 30’s. While Cruz has only been in Seattle for three years and Cano for four, the Mariners have still failed to make the playoffs.

Not to take away from those players who have all had great careers and are Hall-of-Fame-type players, but their current contracts are making it difficult for the Mariners to add more talent to their roster. Cano, who is already 34 years old, is set to make $24 million per year for the next six years with the Mariners, who is already 34 years old, which means he will be making the same when he is 40. Nelson Cruz is set to make 14 million next year while being 36 years old. Lastly, the Mariners have been paying Felix $26 million a year for the past four years and will continue to for the next two years. This restricts the Mariners from going out and getting younger talent.

Felix Hernandez may have been the best Mariner ever, but his time as a superstar is over. He gave the Mariners 10 years of greatness and excitement. Memories of Felix Hernandez in a Mariners uniform will last a lifetime, from when he entered the league at 19 years old to watching him grow into one of the league’s best pitchers.

Now, it is time to move forward and go with the trend of all successful teams and find younger players who can help this franchise. Hernandez hasn’t played a full season in over three years and is losing velocity and movement on his pitches. He was the ace for the Mariners for over a decade and will most likely be in the Hall of Fame some day.

 

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Time to hang it up Hernandez?