Here’s Buster Olney (ESPN) discussing Mariners’ ace, Felix Hernandez:
But so long as Hernandez remains healthy, he will continue to climb toward what figures to be a monster contract. He is still just 23 years old, and he is on track to become a free agent after the 2011 season. CC Sabathia Alexander dvdrip
got a six-year, $161 million contract when he was 28 years old. Johan Santana got his record deal when he was 28 years old.
Just imagine what the Mets, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs might be willing to pay Hernandez, as a healthy, elite pitcher at age 25. The economy will have no impact on a 25-year-old who can throw two types of fastballs, his curve and changeup for strikes at any point in the ball-strike count, with conviction and dominance.
Guess who else will be a free agent after the 2011 season?
That’s right, Chien-Ming Wang.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees let Wang go and replace him with King Felix. I mean, why pay for the lesser pitcher—which Wang is. You might as well get the best that’s on the market and unless a prospect like Andrew Brackman is ready by then, there isn’t a clear internal replacement for Wang, making Felix a legitimate target. It’s pretty amazing just how young he is, actually. I can certainly see the Sox and the Yankees engaging in a bidding war for his services once he is available.
Of course, such a bidding war could ultimately depend on where Joe Mauer signs, though, as he’ll be a FA at the end of 2010—unless the Twins are smart and grant him an extension—which could handcuff either team’s spending if they decide to go after him, instead (a definite possibility).