Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, pitches in the Bronx this afternoon against the New York Yankees. If GM Brian Cashman wants to see his team in the World Series this fall, he needs to do everything he can to pry King Felix away from Seattle by the MLB trade deadline and make his next start in Yankee pinstripes.
Since Andy Pettitte retired and Cliff Lee took Philadelphia's money instead of Hal Steinbrenner's. Cashman has searched under every rock for pitching. He has gotten more than he ever could have expected from veteran castoffs Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. He got a couple of decent starts from career minor-leaguer Brian Gordon.
The GM has reportedly worked the phones like crazy and the Yankees have been connected to possible trades for Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, the Dodgers Kiroki Kuroda, Oakland's Gio Gonzalez, Tampa Bay's James Shields and just about any available pitcher with a healthy arm.
None of those pitchers, however, can be what King Felix would be for the Yankees. A bona fide star pitcher who would give the Yankees a second ace to go with the unbelievably dominant CC Sabathia, and put them in a position to seriously challenge for their 28th World Series title.
After all, isn't doing everything possible to try and win the World Series the mandate for the Yankees? Cashman reportedly said recently that the Yankees "have enough to make the playoffs." If he, and Hal Steinbrenner, become willing to settle for that, though, The Boss would roll over in his grave.
Making the playoffs and accumulating piles of cash is not what the Yankees about, although the piles of cash are certainly a cornerstone of the business model. Winning championships is what this franchise is about. Hernandez is the one player out there who, in my mind, can give the Yankees a chance to do that. Both this year, and for many seasons to come.
In a recent column, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York agreed with me:
Hernandez, just 25, is the type of guy the Yankees dream about. They need a starter to team with CC Sabathia to get them through October. ...
The Mariners, for their part, have given no indications that they would be willing to trade Hernandez. He's 25 and a star; why would they?
Hernandez could be worth the "Herschel Walker"-type trade the Rockies want in exchange for Ubaldo Jimenez. If the Yankees could offer one of their Double-A Killer-B's (Dellin Betances or Manuel Banuelos), Jesus Montero and any two other minor league starters not named Ivan Nova and tempt Seattle, they should do it.
Of course they should. So what if it costs them Montero? The crown jewel of the farm system reportedly has a great bat, but can he catch? Even if he can, the Yankees have a relatively young All-Star catcher in Russell Martin nd a farm system flush with players who might be more complete catching prospects.
So what if it costs them Banuelos, Betances or both? Prospects, more often than not, don't amount to all that much. Realistically, what are the chances either of those guys is anywhere close to as good as Hernandez, one of the games five best pitchers, at any time during the next decade?
So what if it costs them Ivan Nova, or even Phil Hughes? As much as Yankee fans love home grown guys, neither one of them looks like anything more than a middle of the rotation starter.
The reality is the Yankees are not built for the future. They are built for now. Sabathia is pitching as well as he ever has, but he does not have enough help in the rotation to pitch the Yankees through the playoffs. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera are not getting younger. The window for them is nearly closed, and the Yankees need to go for broke while they can with those guys at their core.
Maybe there is no way the Yankees can convince the Mariners to trade King Felix. They need, however, to go to the wall trying.