COMMENTARY | At age 27, Felix Hernandez has attained almost every notable achievement a pitcher could hope to achieve in an entire career: a perfect game, a CY Young Award, a three-time All-Star, and a salary of over $20 million a year.
On August 25, 2010, Felix logged his 1,000th career strikeout and was the third youngest player in history to reach this milestone.
In 2010, he received the AL CY Young Award and was the AL ERA leader.
On August 3, 2011, Felix recorded his third straight season of 200+ strikeouts; only two other players have achieved this feat by the age of 25 or younger. Felix recorded his fourth straight season in 2012.
On August 15, 2012, Felix pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history against Tampa Bay.
In February of 2013, he became one of the highest paid pitchers in MLB history with a seven-year contract extension worth $175 million.
Yet, despite all his accomplishments and gaudy statistics, there is one thing Felix hasn't done: played in the postseason. Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, but he plays for one of the consistently worst teams in the league. Since he first stepped onto the mound in 2005, King Felix has been etching his name into the record books pitch by pitch, but the Seattle Mariners have failed to make the playoffs during his reign.
Poor offense has been a thorn in the side of the Seattle Mariners for the last several years. In 10 of the 12 losses Felix recorded in 2010, the Mariners recorded one or fewer runs in each. But this year may be different. The Mariners just broke a franchise record for most spring training wins with 22, and they recorded 58 home runs during this span. So what has changed? The Mariners brought back Raul Ibanez as DH and picked up power hitters Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales.
Raul Ibanez: Ibanez is a well-known commodity, as this is his third stint with the Mariners. Ibanez first came up with the Mariners as a rookie, and though his batting average has fallen the last few years, down to .240, he provides a veteran presence in the lineup and is still a very capable hitter.
Michael Morse: Morse was with the Mariners until 2009 when he was traded to the Washington Nationals. There, he established himself as a power hitter and had a career year in 2011 with 31 home runs, 95 RBIs and hitting .303. He provides solid defense in the outfield as well.
Kendrys Morales: Morales has the potential for a breakout season with the Mariners this year. After fracturing his ankle in 2010 in a home-plate celebration after hitting a grand slam against the Mariners, he missed most of the 2010 and all of the 2011 seasons. At full strength, Morales could be poised for a great year. In 2009, he hit 34 home runs, drove in 108 runs, and batted .307 for the Angels.
With the addition of these three players, the Mariners may have the offensive potential they have lacked in the past. With offense to balance the defense and pitching in their clubhouse, this may finally be the year that King Felix can assert his dominance in the postseason.
A native Washingtonian, Brianna Brooks is an avid sports enthusiast who has been following the Seattle Mariners since the "Refuse to Lose" run in 1995. From the Kingdome to Safeco Field, she has experienced the ebb and flow of the Mariners' seasons and has translated her passion for baseball into freelance writing.
- Sports & Recreation
- Felix Hernandez
- Seattle Mariners
- Raul Ibanez
- Major League Baseball