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Trading King Felix to the Yankees doesn’t make a ton of sense

Mar 14, 2011, 12:03 PM EDT

Felix Hernandez crop

You know the sign of a fun trade proposal that is never, ever going to happen in a gajillion years?  If you look at it and realize that both teams would reject it out of hand.

Ken Rosenthal has one today: The Mariners offering Felix Hernandez to the Yankees on a 5-for-1 basis, sending back (a) Jesus Montero; (b) either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances; (c) Ivan Nova; and (d) two other prospects from the bin.

Question: I know Hernandez is valuable, but why would the Yankees give up two stud prospects, a seemingly competent and still young major league starter and two additional prospects for one player? What was the last Herschel Walker-style deal in Major League Baseball? And what was the last one of those that a smart team made?

Question: While a haul like that may be a good thing for the Mariners long-term, what possible incentive does Jack Zduriencik have to make it? Depending on who you believe, he’s on somewhat shaky ground these days.  If he trades King Felix, the fans will likely revolt and the team will be worse in the short term, likely costing Zduriencik his job, thereby allowing his successor to appear to be the genius who rebuilt the M’s on the back of all of that Felix talent.

Let’s add in the fact that the Yankees are likely still angry at the Mariners over what they felt to be some stinky behavior during the Cliff Lee negotiations last summer. And the fact that, though they’re down a couple of starters from where they hoped they’d be, there really isn’t any reason to panic here.

I’m not saying that King Felix will never be a Yankee.  But if he is, I bet it’s because either (a) the Yankees sign him before the 2015 season; or (b) things get ugly in Seattle for some reason and it inspires him to demand a trade in which case the Yankees could likely get him cheaper.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Or: c) Hank gets put in charge for 10 minutes while Hal and Randy are in the vault verifying the bank deposit.

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      Len, do you get the feeling that Hank’s office and cell phones, and interwebs/email access is being revoked yet?

      • yankeesfanlen - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        He uses the pay phone by the bus stop while out for a cigarette.

      • Utley's Hair - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        I would think they’d make his office a all smoking zone to prevent just that.

  2. okobojicat - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    If I’m the M’s, I don’t think that deal gets it done. I think it would require 2 of the Killer B’s.

    Basically, the M’s don’t need to trade Felix, and the Yankees don’t need a SP so bad they they are going to destroy their minor leagues.

    The only way it happens is if Figgins is also on his way out in a trade, and they are saving $ and going real young. And at that point, you’d have a very upset Ichiro who could make it very very hard on the front office. (Nintendo owns the M’s and they’ll respond to Japnese press).

    Its not going to happen because the Yanks aren’t dumb enough to meet the M’s outrageous (as they should be!) demands.

  3. aburns77 - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    completely agree with your assessment on this Craig. Being in New York it seems like almost every other Yankee fan I talk to seems to think that the Mariners will simply trade Felix just because they’re the Yankees. Felix is young, in the prime of his career and cost controlled to a reasonable contract for the next several years, what possible reason is there for the Mariners to trade him? Conversely, the haul necessary to get him would be so massive it’s hardly worth it because basically you’re gutting your entire farm system for him and from an organizational perspective that makes no sense.

  4. uyf1950 - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Craig – I agree with the general premise of the piece and the other posters. This isn’t a deal that’s going to happen. Especially not in 2011. After that who knows. I know a favorite poster here (Reflex) likes to comment how money isn’t an object for the Mariners and they want to build a team around Felix but so far for the 2011 season there has been absolutely no evidence that the Mariners are willing to do either . I can certainly see the Mariners offering Felix up after the 2011 season when his payroll hits about $20MM per and the Mariners are mired in yet another mediocre season. I can also see Felix pulling a Grenkie and requesting a trade. I can NOT see the Yankees offering up any sort of package for Felix under any circumstances that the piece references. A trade of Felix will happen happen it’s not a matter of if but when and if the Mariners want to maximize their “take” they should do it before the FA class of 2013 hits the market.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      UYF, your point is well taken. There is still a Cashman-based initiative to use the farm for the intended purpose of developing talent. This will work well because such prospects cannot be given away because of financial imperatives, only by trades that have been fairly well thought out recently.

    • Reflex - Mar 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      As usual its wishful thinking. The M’s payroll is well below its peak and only declining as they go younger. By the end of this year virtually all of the bad deals of the Bavasi era will be off the books, and only the Figgins deal looks to weigh them down. Regardless, the team has *never* engaged in salary dumping, stars have only been traded after demanding such deals for the past decade plus.

      The 2011 team is not expected to contend. Nobody has set that expectation for the fans. The team is going young. The 2012 team likely is not a contender either. The earliest they could be a serious power is 2013. The good news is that that lines up with Felix’s free agent year, meaning they should be in contention by the time its contract time.

      Of course even the best laid plans can go horribly awry. Should the team not live up to expectations its entirely possible he demands a trade in 2014 in order to showcase his talents for a contender. Its possible that the Yankees could be in the mix, depending of course on their needs at the time and what they have to offer for him. As the Cliff Lee deal proved last year, the M’s do *not* see themselves as a Yankees farm club, and will not deal top talents for anything less than top prospects. What Felix does as a free agent would be up to him of course, and I make no predictions there.

      I have never stated that Felix is never becoming a Yankee. I’ve stated that its ludricous to base that on some idea that the M’s can’t afford him. Of course they can. Unless they go binge on a bunch of free agents in the next couple years, their payroll is *way* under budget. The M’s are one of the ‘haves’ in the baseball revenue game, and to date salary dumps have never been their style. Until there is some proof that they are changing thier minds on that stance, Yanks fans speculating on Felix becoming a Yank because “the M’s can’t afford him” just come across like douches. Might as well speculate on Ichiro while you are at it.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 14, 2011 at 7:01 PM

        Reflex – That’s about as positive and ambiguous spin on the Mariners future as I can imagine any poster could say “The 2011 team is not expected to contend. Nobody has set that expectation for the fans. The team is going young. The 2012 team likely is not a contender either. The earliest they could be a serious power is 2013…” you go on to say “…Should the team not live up to expectations its entirely possible he demands a trade in 2014…”.
        I know you keep insisting the Mariners can afford him and other pieces and you are probably correct and that they are “one of the haves in the baseball revenue game”. If money isn’t an issue and they are one of the haves then why don’t they start to show and act like it. Because right now they are acting like a low revenue team with the attitude of “wait till next year” which even by your own admission won’t be until at least 2013 at the soonest. This is just a personal observation on my part and I may be totally off base but I don’t know why in the world a professional athlete especially one the caliber of King Felix would want to stay with a team that isn’t committed to winning, no let me re-phase that, that isn’t committed to at least be competitive, consistently. I may be wrong but I can certainly see Felix wanting out well before his FA year, especially if your scenario is accurate. About the Yankees interest. I don’t know what level of interest the Yankees would have I’m sure a lot depends on when and how much and what the Yankees need at the time. But as sure as the sun rises I have no doubt Felix will NOT finish out his contract with the Mariners and will be gone before 2013 unless they become a contender well before then. That’s just my opinion.

      • Reflex - Mar 15, 2011 at 8:04 AM

        Well your opinion, quite frankly, is idiotic. The reason they aren’t acting like the Yankees despite their budget is that Bill Bavasi completely raped thie farm system and blew the budget on tons of guys who did not fit into the M’s picture. Guys like Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Silva, etc etc. He would sign right handed power hitters to hit in a park heavily biased against right handed power. He would sign pitchers who had career years to giant contracts. And his drafts were repeated washouts, taking guys like Brandon Morrow over better talents like Lincecum and Kershaw, or Jeff Clement over Tulo and Braun, to name a few idiotic moves.

        Jack inherited a team with a suspect farm system, and little major league talent worth anything on the trade market. Rather than binge on what has been a couple of borderline free agent classes(as your own Yanks have found out the past couple years when they haven’t found major pieces either), he has instead built the farm system, trading off anything of value aggressively for the best minor league pieces he can get. The goal is to build a sustained contender, not a team that is occasionally competitive. If you took the time to look at what is coming up in the farm system, the M’s are downright scary, with major prospects at almost every position on the way up. Thier projected future infield looks like this:

        1B: Justin Smoak (top first base prospect in the game, also major left handed power hitter)
        2B: Dustin Ackley (top second base prospect in the game)
        SS: Nick Franklin (power hitting short stop)
        3B: ?
        C: Olivo

        Their OF looks like this:

        RF: Ichiro
        CF: Gutierrez
        LF: ? (Michael Saunders if he can ever do in the majors what he has done in the minors)


        SP: Felix
        SP: Pineda
        SP: ?
        SP: ?
        SP: ?

        What I see there is a team that has a very solid and young core with very few financial committments to aging veterans. Given that their payroll has ranged as high as $120 million, I see little reason they can’t pick up a third starter, a third baseman, and a left fielder when they are ready to contend, assuming nothing becomes apparant for those positions from their own farm system in that time(wanna take bets on whether or not they are targetting those positions in this year’s draft?).

        I’d rather see the team built around a solid young core than a bunch of mindless spending simply because they can afford to. Mindless spending builds the Mets. Building around a solid home grown core gets you, well, the Yankees.

  5. BC - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    The Halliday trade was pretty close to a Herschel Walker-type trade. So was the trade that sent Beckett to the Red Sox.

    • heynerdlinger - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Beckett to the Red Sox was a 3-for-4 trade. Florida sent Beckett, Lowell, and Mota to Boston for Sanchez, Ramirez, and two other minor leaguers.

      The Walker trade was Herschel Walker and four draft picks for five players and eight draft picks (including three first round picks spread over four years).

  6. wonkypenguin - Mar 14, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Does the Cubs’ Matt Garza package constitute a Herschel Walker trade or not yet?

  7. jwbiii - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    7/31/2007 Atl acq Mark Teixeira from Tex w/Ron Mahay for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones

  8. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Mar 14, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    2002- Expos obtained Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew from the Indians for Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens.

    Drew and Stevens were never heard from again. Colon essentially ate himself out of “elite” status, and the Tribe got a Gold Glove/ All Star center fielder, a Gold Glove/ All Star second baseman, and a Cy Young Winner.

    Baseball’s Herschel Walker trade of the century.

    • jwbiii - Mar 15, 2011 at 12:26 AM

      You win. Some stupid Teixeira trivia:

      Full Name: Mark Charles Teixeira
      Born: Apr 11,1980
      High School: Mount Saint Joseph (Baltimore,MD)

      Full Name: Gavin Christopher Floyd
      Born: Jan 27,1983
      High School: Mount Saint Joseph (Baltimore,MD)

      2001 high school teammates?

      • jwbiii - Mar 15, 2011 at 12:27 AM

        Eh. 1998 teammates. 18 years old for the older guy. . .

  9. phukyouk - Mar 14, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    i’m sorry but you are all a bunch of morons! i would do a 5 for one in a heartbeat. as a matter of fact i would even pay all their salaries for the length of their current contracts. i mean Colon, Garcia, Mitre, Nova, Prior and i would even throw in Iguana PLUS a half eat hot dog. you folks really need a reality check if you think its not worth it.

    • uyf1950 - Mar 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      I see you those players and throw in the injured Damaso Marte.

  10. thinman61 - Mar 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Whut?! To hear some of the Yankee fans tell it, there’s no need for a 5 for 1 trade. King Felix can be had for Jesus Montero and a bag of baseballs, and good luck convincing them otherwise.

    Rosenthal is a Yankee fan at heart, and this is one of those times he’s wearing his bias on his sleeve.

    As for Herschel Walker trades in baseball? Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb.

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Mar 14, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    why does Jack Zduriencik make this move? Are you kidding? Maybe cause his team sucks and is not even close to being a contender anytime soon?

    • seattlej - Mar 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      You know the Ms play in the AL West, right? It’s not like we’re talking about the AL East here. Yeah, the Rangers are decent, but if Smoak, Ackley and Pineda can make some strides this year, there’s really no reason they couldn’t compete next season. Especially with a well-placed FA acquisition or two (they have some money coming off the books after this year…).

      • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 15, 2011 at 1:10 AM

        you know the m’s have zero hitting and one pitcher right? Your not beating the angels or rangers with that mess anytime soon and forget the wild card while your at it, not gonna happen no matter where they are playing unless its JV’s

  12. Mike Luna - Mar 14, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Why, oh, why does Rosenthal write this garbage? Most of the time he seems to be a fairly competent journalist, but then his brain spirals off into the land of fairies and speculation.

    Stop it, Ken. You can be so much better than this!

  13. marinersnate - Mar 14, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Zduriencik just addressed this non-sense again last week.

    *”He’s not going anywhere,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “We’ve got him. We’ll keep him. We’re not going to move him.”*

    *”We’ve talked a little bit in the past,” Zduriencki said of Yankees GM Brian Cashman. “But we’d be foolish to move [Hernandez].”*

    My favorite was when he was asked which teams were on Felix’s no-trade list.

    *In case Zduriencik changes his mind, Hernandez’s agents at Octagon Baseball wisely composed a no-trade list of 10 teams that is said to include basically the 10 biggest-revenue teams (not counting Seattle, which is thought to be one). They did this not because Hernandez has any qualms about going to the Yankees (word is he doesn’t), but because it brings financial leverage in case there’s a trade. Zduriencik said he wasn’t even aware which teams are on that list. “I’m not even sure,” Zduriencik said “because it’s not an issue.”*

    Forget it Yanks fans. As Zduriencik put, “He is not going anywhere.”

    • uyf1950 - Mar 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM

      I don’t doubt the accuracy of the comment. But ask yourself this. How smart would it be for the Mariners GM to say “yes we’ve looked at possible trade offers and had contact with several teams and the door is always open. How do you think that would sit with King Felix and his agent.

      • marinersnate - Mar 15, 2011 at 2:19 AM

        Will Felix ever be traded? Who knows? But, it will not be before 2014. And I do not think then.

        I am not singling you out, but it is amazing to me how Yanks fans think that they can have someone else’s Ace. And not so much as give up someone on their 25 man roster to get him! (Except Jober, who they do not want anyway And nobody else does either).

        You want the King? It can probably be done. Try Cano, Gardener, What’s his name prospect catcher (that is struggling to hit even in the spring), and ALL THREE BEE’S. Then we might talk.

        Don’t like the terms? Don’t call!

  14. beantownsports247 - Mar 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    Yankees lose .

    • dirtyharry1971 - Mar 15, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      “27” to “7”

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