Should Mariners Consider Moving Felix Hernandez to the Bullpen?
Last week, Felix Hernandez was seemingly on his way out of the Mariners’ rotation. This had Mariners fans riled up, splitting them up into two opposing groups: pro-Felix and anti-Felix.
This week is no different.
This season Hernandez is 8-9 with a 5.49 ERA in 22 starts.
In his last start against the Blue Jays, he went five innings giving up five hits and two earned runs. Not bad, but over his last seven starts, he is 2-3 with an ERA of 5.22.
Now, let’s compare his last seven starts to the rest of the rotation:
Wade LeBlanc: 3-2, 5.09 ERA
Mike Leake: 0-3, 4.28 ERA
James Paxton: 3-4, 3.46 ERA
Marco Gonzales: 5-2, 2.85 ERA
You may look at this and say Mike Leake is 0-4, and Paxton is 3-4, but what is the difference between the two? The rest of the rotation all have a lower ERA than Hernandez.
His Earned Run Average has nothing to do with the struggles of the offense, so it is pretty much on him. After the All-Star break, his ERA sits at 8.5 and his opponents’ batting average with runners in scoring position is .302.
Erasmo Ramirez is coming back from the disabled list, and he could very well replace Felix in the rotation. After his rehab start at Tacoma he said, “I’m throwing the ball where I want it. No pain. No soreness.”
Jerry Dipoto just acquired Sam Tuivailala, Adam Warren, and Zach Duke to help out the likes of Edwin Diaz and Alex Colome in the bullpen, so some may think there isn’t a spot for Felix.
I am not saying this would be for the rest of the season. A move to the bullpen would probably not sit very well with Felix, but it’s probably what’s best for the team.
The move to the bullpen would only be for a couple of weeks to give starts to Ramirez and let Felix work on mechanics and get back to making hitters uncomfortable.
As you all know the Oakland Athletics are very hot, as they have the best record in the league since June 16. Plus, they are 2.5 games in front of the Mariners for the second wild card spot, and four back from Houston for the division.
Bob Melvin and his team are not going to slow down anytime soon. The Yankees and Astros are both dealing with significant injuries and the A’s have a great opportunity to grab hold of the first wild card or the AL West lead.
The Mariners need an opportunity to win every night to catch the A’s and Felix doesn’t give them that. Right now, a Felix start feels like an automatic loss.
Whether it be a move to the bullpen or a stint on the DL, Felix should no longer be in the Mariners’ rotation.
As of now, Felix is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Rangers.