Can Mariners Hernandez Extend His Career in the Bullpen?
I for one would love for a full career path similar to John Smoltz. If you think about it would work great for our organization. We are not planning to compete for the next 2-3 years so a transition to the bullpen, a smaller workload and a new sense of purpose, followed by the opportunity to rejoin the rotation in 2021 or 2022 when the Mariners are set to be competitive would be thrilling.
If it works out with him as a closer and he doesn’t find the arm strength in a few years to return to the rotation then something more along the lines of Eck would be fantastic as well. At the very least, I wonder what a couple of seasons of 60-80 IP, mixed with the new mindset and demeanor that Eckersley spoke about, could do for Felix.
In my humble opinion not only is this a win-win opportunity for the Mariners and Felix, but it’s also a must. We cannot go through the motions and trot The King out every five days and then just wave goodbye. For one, it will just suck to watch and it will put a sour end to a tremendous career.
Secondly, he will go somewhere else and they will not feel they “owe” him a spot in the rotation and he very well could find an opportunity to succeed as a reliever somewhere else. Which as Mariners fans, we are fed up with watching former M’s rebound and succeed with other teams.
What do you think about Felix as the closer next season? If he can find some success would you be open to resigning him in hope that he continues on the Eckersley or Smoltz career path? Or do you prefer to gather together the King’s Court and hold up your K card for one more season and say goodbye?
Personally, I want Felix to be a lifer! For better or worse, I think it is in everyone’s best interest to find a way to make this work and find a way to make Felix the hands down best Mariners pitcher of All Time!