Seattle Mariners 2019 Position Preview: Starting Pitchers

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 22: Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners warms up in the bullpen prior to taking on the Chicago White Sox during their game at Safeco Field on July 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 22: Marco Gonzales #32 of the Seattle Mariners warms up in the bullpen prior to taking on the Chicago White Sox during their game at Safeco Field on July 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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FÉLIX HERNÁNDEZ

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 26: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts in the dugout after being pulled from the game in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics during their game at Safeco Field on September 26, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 26: Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners reacts in the dugout after being pulled from the game in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics during their game at Safeco Field on September 26, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

There is no current Mariners player fans should be more grateful for than Félix Hernández, but that doesn’t mean the 32-year-old is exempt from criticism. After three seasons filled with injury concerns and below-average pitching throughout, Hernández’s inability to adapt to his limitations at his age and accept his own mediocrity has seemingly spelt the end of his best days.

The only thing that has kept Hernández afloat in Seattle has been the five-year, $135.5 million contract extension he signed in 2013, of which he is now entering the final year of. In all likelihood, 2019 will be Hernández’s farewell tour in a Mariners uniform.

Unfortunately, expectations for Hernández’s upcoming season are at an all-time low, and any such farewell tour will be celebrated by the team for finally being rid of his extraordinarily restrictive contract rather than for his accomplishments on the field.

As a fan, the hope should be that Hernández pitches well enough to earn himself some consideration on the trade market come July or August. The Mariners would never get anything of value in return, and would likely have to eat nearly all of his remaining salary, but it would give him a shot to finally reach the postseason.

That feels more like wishful thinking than anything, though.

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