Why (and How) the Rangers Should Go All In as the Trade Deadline Looms
1. He's arguably one of the top five starters in baseball.
I'd rank Jered Weaver, David Price, Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw ahead of Hernandez, and that's it. Strong arguments can be made for Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, but it's too close to call.
2. He's signed for two more years.
Although he's hardly a bargain, Hernandez is under contract for $19.5 million next year and $20 million in '14. So even if he goes somewhere else at the end of his current deal, the Rangers will have had Hernandez for three potential postseason runs following their back-to-back AL championships.
3. He's in his prime.
It's hard to believe, but King Felix is just 26 years old, having finished second in the AL Cy Young voting as a 23-year-old before winning it the following season. Texas would have him locked up during his age 27 and 28 seasons, which could be his best yet.
4. He's durable.
Hernandez has been on the disabled list twice, but once was because of a sprained ankle and the other time was because of a strained elbow five years ago that hasn't recurred. He's made at least 30 starts in each of the last six seasons and is on pace to do so again this year.
5. He knows the league and division.
Hernandez has pitched his entire career in the AL West, so he has plenty of experience against the top hitters in the division and league as a whole.
Of course, for this whopper of a deal to become reality, two things must happen, both of which are unlikely, one of which more so than the other.
First, Seattle has to be willing to deal Hernandez. And while it would be a tough message to send to their fans after recently parting ways with franchise icon Ichiro Suzuki, it would help them rebuild to compete in the future. And if Hernandez really loves it in Seattle as much as he has claimed he does, then he can re-sign there after the 2014 season, when the Mariners are closer to contending.
Second, Daniels has to radically change his current philosophy. Right now, he's holding on to the team's young, unproven minor leaguers for dear life, and the idea of trading the top three prospects in the organization (including perhaps the top one in all of baseball), might just give him a heart attack.
So, yeah, the odds aren't good on that one. In fact, I'd say they are about the same as Profar, Olt and Perez all finding their way to Cooperstown.
But if Daniels can dream about that, why can't I dream about what this team would look like with a bona fide ace in its rotation for the next three years?
Daniels is much more likely to add a bullpen arm, a bat or both. The Rangers have been linked to closers Jonathan Broxton and Rafael Betancourt, along with outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, although the latest reports suggest Texas has lost interest in Choo. None of which would have the impact of adding Greinke or Hernandez.
Given what we've seen the last two seasons, Daniels is sure to make a move, but even if it's a smaller one, it's important to remember what I said earlier: It's not time to panic.
After all, last night Texas tied its best 100-game record in franchise history (1999, 2010), which put them four and a half games ahead of Oakland and five ahead of Los Angeles. Scott Feldman suddenly looks like a viable rotation piece. Mitch Moreland should return soon. And the lineup has to start clicking soon. Right? Riiiiight?
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamMerten.