Seattle Mariners: 5 (Semi) Bold Predictions for 2019
2. Felix Hernandez isn’t a Mariner on July 1
Sadly, this may be the most realistic prediction I make. The franchise icon and arguably best pitcher in franchise history has been straight up bad the past 2 seasons, and the Mariners appear to be done with him.
It was announced last week that Felix’s streak of 10 consecutive Opening Day Starts is over. Besides that, Felix won’t even pitch in his first game until April 1st, the Mariners 7th game of the regular season. He is the #5 starter. Let me repeat that: Felix Hernandez is the NUMBER FIVE starter.
A franchise icon couldn’t beat out Wade LeBlanc or rookie Yusei Kikuchi. Let that sink in. Thankfully, for the first time in his tenure, the team refused to bow to the King. Felix has entered this spring training and look almost exactly as he did last year.
There is no change in his delivery, mechanics, physique, or attitude (as far as we know from reports). After his first start of the spring, one Mariners official said it was as though he hadn’t picked up a ball all off-season.
He has shown nothing this spring to expect anything better than he was in 2018, which was one of the worst starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. With Justus Sheffield looking fantastic early on and Erik Swanson getting looks in the rotation, there is no reason to keep Felix in the rotation for long.
He wasn’t all too pleased with his brief demotion to the bullpen last year and is unlikely to welcome that with open arms this season. Things look like they are headed for a messy divorce, but after giving him the better part of 3 seasons to figure things out, the Mariners are absolutely ready to move on from Felix and should do so regardless of the PR problem they may face.