I wasn’t really surprised when the Mariners shelled out big money ($175M for 7 years) for Felix Hernandez. Seattle loves him and he’s been by far the best player on the team since Ichiro began his decline. He even brought Seattle a perfect game.
He’s thrown over 200 innings for 6 years straight and 190+ the two years before that – an absolute workhorse. But allegedly the Mariners were worried enough about his health to put an injury clause in that mega contract. His stats actually were very good in 2013, posting a career high in K/BB of 4.70 even as his GB% shrank to near career lows. Fly balls aren’t really an issue in the cavernous SafeCo. This prediction is less base on skill degradation and more based on my expectation of an injury or playing through one.
I think he will still be a top 10-15 pitcher on a nightly basis when he goes, but getting value means having home out there every five days. If this doesn’t happen, the Mariners aren’t going to be happy plunking down $25M a year for 20 starts.
And fantasy owners using a third round pick aren’t going to overly thrilled either. Maybe take a shot at Carlos Gomez or Giancarlo Stanton instead. Wait two rounds and grab David Price, Chris Sale or Zack Greinke as your first pitcher.