Felix and the future

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

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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.

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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?

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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).

14 thoughts on “Felix and the future

  1. Dan

    I believe Matt Cain will also be a FA at the end of 2011 when he will be 26. With Tim Lincecum’s FA looming in 2012 and the Barry Zito contract runing through 2013, I can’t see the Giants signing both Cain and Lincecum to long term deals (of course assuming both stay healthy). So, 2011 could look to be an interesting one for Free Agent stud young pitchers, unless one or both get signed to long term deals or traded before they reach that point.

    • Chris H.

      Wow, I’m a big Matt Cain fan. The guy can flat out pitch. If the Giants let Lincecum go, it’ll be insane.

      • Dan

        Unless the Giants are in contention in 2011 (or sooner), and both are still healthy and on the same path they’re on now, I see the Giants signing Lincecum to a long term deal and trading Cain at the 2011 trade deadline or sooner in a blockbuster to improve their offense. They’ve got another stud pitcher in their farm system, Baumgartner that is a man among boys in the minors. But their offense is among the worst in the majors, so 2 years from now a lot can happen, but seems like a pretty obvious outcome at the moment.

        • Chris H.

          Interesting stuff, Dan. I wonder if the Brewers and Giants will one day revisit the Prince Fielder-Matt Cain speculation from earlier in the year…

          • Dan

            Wow, just took a quick look at some numbers comparing Cain and Hernandez. I think you guys will be amazed at how similar they are:

            Born 10/1/84
            756 innings 644 hits 317 BBs 643 Ks 1.27 whip 3.58 era

            Born 4/8/86
            776 innings 759 hits 248 BBs 700 Ks 1.30 whip 3.62 era

            You hear all the hype about “King Felix” perhaps because of how he burst onto the scene at such a young age. Cain is 18 months older and didn’t have quite the same immediate success as Hernandez, but quite frankly, I don’t think these guys are all that different in terms of plus stuff. Now with Cain playing in Lincecum’s shadow, I expect that lack of hype to continue even if he hits the All Star team this season. Just something to consider.

  2. Tom Gaffney

    Wow – The Sox have been saving up and have lots of flexibility. It’s going to be an all-out bloodbath for those two guys. If Montero improves his receiving skills, though, the Yanks might put all their eggs into King Felix’ basket. The guy is going to have enough cash to BUY his own kingdom after 2011. You’ve got to wonder if a team is going to go after him in the 2010 off-season or trading deadline.

    • Chris H.

      Good point, Tom. I can definitely see him being traded but then again, the people of Seattle love that guy and would go nuts if he were moved before free agency.

  3. leftylarry

    Never happens.
    Felix will cost much more than Wang unless Wang wins 18+ games and you don’t give up a #1 draft choice resiging your own player.
    Why people here don’t believe the NY economy is crashing and will get worse and worse and that Yanks are going to be cutting payroll I don’t understand.
    Look at today’s move to replace Nady, totally cost conscious.
    I see a starter up from the farm system by then.
    The big kid Macallister with the sinker currently in AA is a likely possibility.Maybe Nova continues to develop and maybe Bleich too.
    Salaries will come down too, forgetv bidding wars, teams will struggle to make any money.
    Yankees mets series wasn’t even sold out.

    • Chris H.

      I think the team will end up saving more money in the position player department via trades, which will free up money for pitching. If Felix is available in 2011, it would be foolish to think that the Yankees won’t make a play.

  4. leftylarry

    Chris H.: I think the team will end up saving more money in the position player department via trades, which will free up money for pitching. If Felix is available in 2011, it would be foolish to think that the Yankees won’t make a play.

    SO a franchise looking to knock 50 million off it’s books that will have CC and AJ making huge bucks can add a 3rd huge starter? I greatly doubt it.
    By then Joba will want big bucks (assuming he makes it big) and i just can’t see it happening.
    They aren’t going to sell tickets next season like they did before the economy crashed this off season and advertising income and clothing sales will get worse also.
    Nobody, even the YANkees will be able to afford 3 starting pitchers totalling 60 million dollars, unless the next 2 starters are minor league types.

  5. YankeeGrunt

    No reason to pay that kind of money for Hernandez unless one of two things happens: A. One or more of Joba, Hughes or AJ is seriously injured or B. The economy is still awful and so the contracts for these guys are substantially lower than they might be in better times. Failing that, save the money for use replacing Jeter when the time comes, making sure we have solid corner OF bats, etc etc. We do have good young pitching prospects. Guys like Banuelos and Vizcaino should be at AA or higher by then, and Brackman or Betances may be in the mix. Yes we have a built-in advantage with our revenue streams and deep pockets, but we don’t need to go overboard and deny ourselves the flexibility to make those last couple moves to put us over the top.

  6. leftylarry

    Yankees shareholders are looking for profits and distributions, not their so-called growing equity any more.Yanks will begin reducing payroll when this years $2,500 seats , now selling for $1,250 become $500 and they probably will, sooner rather than later.
    The revenue streams will continue to fall.NYC’s economy will struggle worse and worse.
    Stop talking like Yankees want to keep paying big luxury taxes.They don’t.
    I expect Gardner and AJax in the OF next season.

    • Chris H.

      That will never happen. Gardner and A-Jax in the OF? Not likely.

  7. daneptizl

    CC could also opt out and then he just gets replaced by King Felix too…

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