Baseball

Felix Hernandez Deserves A Chance As A Reliever

Felix Hernandez
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

On September 26, 2019, Felix Hernandez made what at the time seemed to be just the last start with the Seattle Mariners. The team that signed him at the young age of just 16-years-old. Little did the world know that that year would be the last time we saw Felix pitch in a regular-season game. In the game on 9/26, Felix pitched for the final time in front of the “Kings Court” and the city of Seattle. He went 5.1 innings, gave up three hits, walked four batters, struck out three. He took the loss in a game that the Mariners would lose 3-1.

The man known as “King Felix” by the baseball world and the city of Seattle has appeared in spring training for two teams over the last two years. In 2020 he signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves and was pitching pretty well but he opted out due to covid. This season he had signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, struggled in Spring Training, he was not going to make the big league roster so he opted out of the contract.

Currently, Felix Hernandez is still a free agent.

How’d He Fare As A Starter?

Felix Hernandez was the Ace for the Seattle Mariners for 11 years but played for the Mariners for 13 years. For 8 years, The King recorded both 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts. Being recognized as one of the most dominant starters in the league during that time. After the 2015 season, the Velocity for Felix was no longer there. So what happened to the velocity of his fastball? That’s an answer that has not been answered. But when his velocity was there he was one of the best starters in the game for the better half of a decade.

Felix Hernandez still holds the last perfect game thrown in MLB History.

Why Does Felix Hernandez Deserve A Chance As A Reliever?

  • There may be something left in the tank
    • Felix Hernandez is only 35 years old but he has not pitched in a regular season game so his arm may be well rested. He might have gotten work done on his arm. You never know. He has been working out over the past couple of months according to his most recent instagram post. Working out the way that Felix is will allow him to get back in shape to pitch again.
  • It could be a Kendall Graveman Situation
    • Kendall Graveman is a reliever for the Mariners, though he was a starter for the Oakland Athletics when he first started his career. This season, Graveman has been very effective for the Seattle Mariners. He has become the closer for the Mariners and owns a 0.84 ERA through 32 innings and 10 saves. A main reason Kendall Graveman (who has a benign bone tumor) has been so effective is that he doesn’t have to worry about trying to get through 5 or 6 innings. He just has to get out of one.
  • He Could Cement His Legacy
    • If Felix were to turn into a good reliever this late in his career. There is a chance that he could get picked up by a team that is ready to make the playoffs. He’d finally be able to pitch in the playoffs and potentially win a world series ring.

In all of this, the only way that Felix becomes a good reliever is to understand that he is not a high-velocity pitcher anymore and work on his command. Becoming a reliever could see maybe a 1 – 2 MPH uptick in velocity like Graveman has seen but that is about it. Command and control are what Felix would need to work on. But he’d also have to be content with the fact that he is not the starting pitcher that he used to be.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Scott

    July 25, 2021 at 6:16 PM

    Agreed! I do believe it would be great to see and that Felix deserves at least an opportunity. I would have liked for the Mariners to give him that opportunity, but I would root for him on any team if he has the chance.

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