The above table shows a projection of his value over the next 4 seasons. Hernandez has been worth about 6.5 wins each of the past two seasons, and there’s no reason he can’t match that and even eclipse it as he continues to mentally and physically mature. For the win values, I started with $5 million per win for 2011 and added $0.25 million to the win value each season for inflation, which is probably a little low but I’m trying to be conservative. Over the next four seasons, I’ve projected Hernandez to bring in a surplus value of $81 million, which leads us to our next question—what is that worth in terms of talent sent back.
For now, let’s stick to prospects. According to Victor Wang’s research, we have a decent idea of what prospects are worth. Jesus Montero would start the asking price, and as a top 10 hitting prospect, he would be worth $36.5 million, leaving the Yankees with $44.5 million more to fill. Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos come next at $16 million each, which after working some voodoo math leaves the Yankees with $12 million left to compensate the Mariners with. With one top 100 hitting or pitching prospect, the Yankees can get a deal done, which would mean Andrew Brackman or Austin Romine.
But what if you like those young pitchers and only want to give up one (one of them IS going), but you’re willing to fork over Gary Sanchez. Montero’s $36.5 million starts the bidding, and Sanchez reels in another $23.5 million to give the Mariners $60 million in value. The next $21 million comes from Banuelos or Betances (I’m guessing the Mariners demand Banuelos) and a decent prospect such as Brandon Laird.
Is Montero untouchable? Then it’s Sanchez (23), Banuelos (16), Betances (16), Brackman (12), and 2 lower-level prospects because I doubt the Mariners would want Sanchez and Romine.
Let’s say you don’t want to part with all those prospects and are willing to deal major-league players. Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner are really the only two the Mariners would be interested in, as Phil Hughes probably isn’t going anywhere as you probably aren’t trading a current starter when you need more starters.
From the above projections, Chamberlain is essentially a replacement for Betances or Banuelos, but considering some think Betances will be a reliever, let’s say Chamberlain slots in for Betances. As for Gardner, it depends on what kind of a player you think he is. Is he the upper-echelon player he was last year, then you need to look more toward the first chart (it has a + in it), which gives him a value near $65 million. If he is worth that, however, the Yankees may not want to trade him, and the Mariners may not want him if their goal is to accumulate several young players, which Gardner isn’t really anymore at the age of 27 going on 28. If you see him as the negative version, he still has significant value and can be substituted for Montero in most situations. Though if he is that, the Mariners may prefer Montero anyway. Essentially what I’m saying is that including Gardner doesn’t make much sense for the Mariners, though a Gardner (42), Banuelos (16), and Sanchez (23) deal hits right on $81 million of value.
King Felix is surely an attractive piece, and any team would want him. Even better, the Yankees have the talent to make a significant deal for him, which is good for its own reasons. The question, however, is whether or not the Yankees should give it up for him. In every scenario, the Yankees are losing 3-4 impact potential prospects and/or young players. While they are losing that, they are receiving one of the best pitchers in the game, but pitchers have significant injury risks and Hernandez has endured a lot of mileage already. Do you make the deal?
More importantly, do the Mariners make this deal? In return for their franchise player, they could get Montero (a man potentially without a position but a great DH, nonetheless), Banuelos (a promising pitcher but one that comes with the usual risks), Betances (see Banuelos but less promising), Sanchez (a great young catcher but one far away from the majors), and one of the Brackman/Chamberlain/Gardner groups that have their own advantages and disadvantages. They could use any combination of those players as they have plenty of holes, but if I’m the Mariners, I’m asking for the Montero/Sanchez/Banuelos/Laird swap to get maximum potential. They can afford to keep Felix, and there’s no real need to move him.
But if I’m the Yankees, that’s an awfully steep price when I’m not entirely sure I need Hernandez. If they wait until after next season, Hernandez starts to get expensive, and he loses $23.5 million, or Gary Sanchez, worth of value. Maybe they should wait to check back until then.