Mariners Insider

Felix Hernandez shut down for the season

Post by Ryan Divish on Sep. 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm with 8 Comments »
September 30, 2010 6:46 pm
AP photo

General manager Jack Zduriencik just announced that Felix Hernandez has been shut down for the season. There was some hope that Hernandez might make start the final game of the season on Sunday against the Oakland A’s at Safeco Field.

But since Hernandez has thrown a career high 249 2/3 innings this season, which followed a 2009 season where he threw a then-career high 238 2/3 innings, Zduriencik decided to end his season for “precautionary” reasons.

“It’s a decision I think is in his long-term best interests,” Zduriencik said. “And that’s why we put it at the forefront.”

Zduriencik, manager Daren Brown, pitching coach Carl Willis and Hernandez all met to discuss it earlier on Thursday.

“I understand what they’re trying to do,”  Hernandez said. “They want me here for five more years, and I understand. I mean, I want to pitch. I just want to pitch. I said, “You know, Jack, I want to pitch,” but he’s the boss. He made the decision.”

Of course, the more they talked, the more Hernandez understood.

“I’m healthy, so I want to be healthy for four more years and the rest of my career,” he said. “That’s what (Zduriencik) is trying to do is to keep me healthy.  It’s for next year. I’m not going anywhere. So we just want to be careful.”

Hernandez ends the season with a 13-12 record and a 2.27 ERA.  As of today, he leads the American League in ERA (2.27), innings (249.2) and strikeouts (232).

“He’s had a phenomenal year,” Zduriencik said. “I wish the circumstances were different. It’s the last game of the season. With what he’s done, we’d like for him to start preparing for next season.”

Obviously, the debate of whether Hernandez should start on Sunday is largely based on the American League Cy Young award. Right now, Hernandez along with C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees, David Price of the Rays and Jon Lester of the Red Sox are considered the favorites. But Hernandez’s 13-12 record could be a major detractor to his candidacy in the eyes of some voter. There was some thought that a final start might sway undecided voters.

Zduriencik scoffed at such a notion.

“He leads the league in so many categories. Is one more start going to make that much of a difference?” Zduriencik said. “If you are a true baseball person, and you look at what he’s done this year, is that one extra outing going to mean that much.  In my opinion, he should get the Cy Young award. He’s earned it, regardless of the won-loss record. All of the other numbers are in his favor.”

When told of Zduriencik’s reaction, Hernandez got a mischievous grin.

“It could be better if I throw one more game!” he chuckled. “But what are we going to do in my next start? I mean, look at my numbers.”

Will Hernandez win the award? It certainly will be close and will test the voters of the Baseball Writers Association of America that are doing the voting. There has been a movement in recent years to discredit the value of the a pitcher’s win-loss record. Hernandez’s performance this season would certainly be a great example.

“They have to look at all the numbers,” he said. “Wins is not in my hands. The other numbers I’ve got, I think I’ve got a chance.”

He has the worst run support average of any starting pitcher in the American League at 3.1 runs per game thanks to a historically bad Mariners’ offense. In his 12 losses the Mariners have scored a total of 7 runs while he was in the game pitching. The Mariners have scored one run or less in 10 of his 34 starts and two runs or less in 15 times.

“He’s handled himself with a tremendous amount of class,” Zduriencik said. “I know there were times when he should have been frustrated by the lack of run support. The games are tough when he goes out there and puts his heart and soul on the line and we don’t score a run for him.”

When asked who should win the award, Hernandez didn’t hesitate.

“Me,” he said.

It’s an indicator of how bad Hernandez wants to win the award after he finished second in the voting for last year behind Zack Greinke.

“We all want the Cy Young. Every starting pitcher wants the Cy Young,” he said. “But it’s not in my hands.”

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Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. Kevindot1 says:

    Thanks for a great season King Felix! You and Ichiro were about the only things worth paying attention to this year. Hopefully next year will be different. Have a great off-season!

  2. TacomaRick says:

    This aweful offense has now cost him the Cy young 2 years in a row! How sad

  3. dave8557 says:

    Very sad decision by Zman. Not good when the general manager interferes with the day to day decisions of the manager.

    249 innings is not high, that is the sad thing. Why is he pitching if isn’t allowed to pitch? If he’s ever in a pennant race (with another team) it will be interesting to see how he is used in late September and October, if he will be hurt by this decision.

    I feel for you Felix. Maybe you can negotiate in future contracts to protect yourself against stupid management decisions, and just be allowed to play baseball.

  4. Pat_riot says:

    Just plain idiotic.. yeah, one start is going to save his arm.. give me a break! Let the man pitch if he wants too. I can see this decision if this was two weeks ago and Felix wasn’t competing for the cy young.. but seriously, one start. He’ll lose his strikeout lead tonight after Weaver pitches.. lame.

  5. Pat_riot says:

    TacomaRick:
    The offense didn’t cost him the cy young last year.. he was 19-5. He lost the cy young because, even though he had one of the best years ever statistically put together by a starting pitcher, Greinke had an even better one.

  6. Pray4Peace says:

    I tend to agree w/ dave on this one. I think that one of the main problems w/ this team is that the field managers are being so micro-managed by the FO they aren’t given much, if any, say in decisions that affect the team on the field. If Zippy paid more attention to doing his own job of putting high quality, high caliber players on the field and letting his field managers manage the field, the Ms might be in a better position. Then when things go so horribly wrong like they did this year, he throws the managers and coaches under the bus.

    A couple of you have said to keep the faith and said “In Jack You Trust”. and that’s just fine. Me personally, IMO, can’t trust a man who says he doesn’t know what the term “have your back” means. If this team does better next year, Zippy will be right up there to get the glory, if not, he’ll be up there to cut the rope on the guillotine of whomever the manager happens to be.

    Just my opinion. Have a Great weekend.

    Go Hawks!!

  7. footballscaa says:

    Just another reason why Felix will never sign another contract with Seattle. Get out and see him next year while you can. He’ll be in pinstripes or BoSox red in a few years, then he’ll win his Cy Youngs.

  8. I see this from 2 sides:

    1. Personally, I watch the games on TV, listen on radio & read here. I.E. I don’t pay for tickets. From that point of view it makes perfect sense to save Felix’s arm in this joke of a season.

    2. However, for the 20,000-40,000 folks who bought tickets for Sunday (I don’t count the 5,000 or so corporate sales in this; those are just a tax write off for rich people), this is horribly unfair. They are being ripped off of their very hard earned money. Each & every ticket holder for Sunday’s game needs to be offered the option of a hassle free refund. If it doesn’t happen, I hope someone files a class action lawsuit. For us low & middle income folks, the $20-$50 spent on a game is a lot of $, even if it’s only chump change to both the overpaid players & greedy owners.

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