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Cleveland trades Bartolo Colon to Montreal for Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips
Baltimore trades Erik Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and two other minor league pitchers
Seattle trades Felix Hernandez to Boston for pitchers Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Nick Hagadone and OF Josh Reddick
Wait…you mean that didn’t happen?
Do you ever have those moments when you think you can do a better GM job that the current ones in the major leagues? Well when the Boston Globe reported that the Mariners turned down a huge offer from the Red Sox for 23-year-old ace Felix Hernandez, I had one of those moments.
It’s not often that a team throws five very good prospects in your face for an ace pitcher. Much like the Indians in 2002 or Orioles in 2008, the Mariners could have found themselves with a nice young core as a result of dealing their ace pitcher. Well, word broke out that the Red Sox gave Seattle a list of eight prospects, from which they could choose five. The list:
My first thought was that I found it interesting the Red Sox did not include Casey Kelley, Ryan Westmoreland or Lars Anderson in this list. It makes sense that the Red Sox are not willing to move Anderson unless they receive a first baseman in return, but the exclusion of the other two leads me to believe that they are pretty untouchable if the organization is not willing to part with them for a young stud pitcher.
My second thought was “really?!” The Mariners could not find five players that would suit their team needs for one player, albeit a great one. Personally, I would have chosen the five players above (Buchholz, Bard, Hagadone, Bowden and Reddick). This would have given the Mariners three very good starting pitcher prospects, one future closer and a very good outfield prospect who is currently ranked second in the Sox farm system according to SoxProspects.com.
There is only one reason why the Mariners would decline such a trade. They plan on re-signing Hernandez to a long-term deal that will keep him in a Mariners uniform for a long time. If this is not the case, I would have to question the Mariners’ front office because they are not built to contend before 2011 and if they let Hernandez hit free agency they may be looking at one draft pick in 2012 as the remainder of what could be the greatest pitcher of our generation.
There are a lot of things to like about Hernandez. He has posted a 51-40 record with a 3.61 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 734 strikeouts in 818 2/3 innings…and he’s only 23 years old. He is under contract for the next two seasons and for only around $3 million per year.
I expect the Red Sox to make a run at Hernandez in the off-season; much like the Mariners did with Erik Bedard before the 2008 season. However, the price will not be as high because there is something about the trade deadline that makes GM’s overpay for any advantage they can get for their playoff run.
It wouldn’t hurt the Red Sox to make a play for Hernandez either. They have the prospects to give and something tells me that my eyes could get used to watching Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and King Felix trot out to the mound three out of every five days.
In all seriousness though, the Red Sox do have some questions with their rotation come next season. Dice-K’s arm troubles could be more serious than advertised, fan-favorite Tim Wakefield is more of a back-end rotation guy, Boston will probably not bring back Brad Penny or John Smoltz for another season, and Clay Buchholz continues to struggle in the majors. If Dice-K can return this season and show that he is recovered from his shoulder injury, I would not be surprised if the Red Sox offered him in a package of prospects for King Felix.
Only time will tell whether the Mariners missed out on a huge deal for Hernandez, but they better have plans to sign him long term or they may be looking at another Alex Rodriguez situation.