Record deal for Felix
Last Thursday afternoon, word came across the media wires that “King” Felix Hernandez would become MLB‘s all time highest paid pitcher, inking a contract of $175 million over the course of seven years (technically it was a five year / $135mil extension).
That breaks down to $154,320.99 for each game of the season.
Now considering where the Seattle Mariners are, at and where they have been at over the last few years, is this money well spent, or (IMO) did the M’s foolishly overspend?
PAY PER GAME
When you look at the fact that Hernandez makes $154 thousand per game, it isn’t that disturbing, considering he is one of the best pitchers in the game.
However what is in fact hard to wrap ones mind around is the fact that out of the 162 games, he really only plays about 33 games a season, which amounts to an astronomical $757,575 each time he steps on the field.
Crazy, considering he impacts only about 20% of the M’s final record.
BUY LOW / TRADE HIGH
Being that the Mariners were 18 games back of a “wild card” berth in the American League, and 19 back of the Oakland A’s in the West Division, the team could certainly use a little more firepower and depth.
Yes they have a pretty nice looking core of youngsters coming up the pipe, but after years of futility, the M’s fans deserve more immediate success.
Could they have traded Hernandez, who is coming off his fourth straight +.500 season for a number of players who could have added to the success of the team on a nightly basis?
Considering that the Oakland A’s finished on top of the West with a 94-68 record, compared to the Mariners 75-87 finish and the fact that Oaktown’s best pitcher was Tommy Milone, who at 13-10 raked in $480,000.
At 13-9, Hernandez cashed in nearly $20 million.
Yes, the A’s had a better overall team, but when you take into account that they also had half of the salary that the Mariners paid out (M’s = $82mil, A’s = $41mil), maybe the money could have been spread out a little more.
HE DOESN’T EVEN HIT
When you look at the top 15 salaries last season 9 of those belonged to every day players who played every inning and contributed on both sides of the plate.
Hernandez, on the other hand, has made a grand total of 32 plate appearances since joining the league in 2005.
They say that defense wins championships, but at some point you have to push runs across the plate.
The reality of the contract as said was more of a five year extension, not a complete new seven year contract.
So why didn’t the Mariners wait until 2014-15 to worry about resigning Hernandez rather than jump on it now?
The answer could come back to haunt the club if Felix doesn’t preform up to snuff.
Sure another team might have offered him more money in a couple of years, and sure he may have bounced if the team didn’t make playoff level improvements, but here is the kicker…what if Felix, now that he is handsomely paid does not pay dividends on return?
It’s not far fetched that once athletes get a sniff of the big money that they can be known to drop off in production.
What if he gets injured?
Sure, sure, what if my grandmother had balls…but the reality is, for $175mil, she could very well be my grandfather.
At the end of the day, is one man worth $25mil per season for a team sport?
However when you consider all the on and off field aspects surrounding Felix Hernandez and what he means to the team and the continued love and support that he gives to and gets from the city of Seattle, it may well all be worth it.
Then again, maybe not.
Just be glad at the end of the night, it’s not your signature at the bottom of the cheque.