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On Felix's No-Trade Clause

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We have Larry Stone to thank for this even becoming a subject of conversation. Nice going, Larry. And The Hot Stone League? Really? I've met you a few times. More like The Fairly Acceptable For His Age Group Stone League, or The Well I Guess If I Had To Stone League. You're all right, but you're no Chris Seddon.

Anyhoo, because Felix Hernandez's name has come up in trade chatter - not trade rumors, but simple trade chatter - a few people have recently looked at his contract and noticed that he has a limited no-trade clause. And upon further investigation, it's been revealed that one of the teams on his ten-team list is the Yankees.

That revelation, as you can imagine, has been celebrated. Felix doesn't want to play for the Yankees! All right! It goes neatly with the story of how Felix turned down the Yankees when he signed as a teenage free agent. But as it happens, this is one of those things that makes for a fun story, but probably misses the truth.

For one thing - and this goes way back - it seems his dad was responsible for his signing with Seattle. And as far as his current no-trade list is concerned, Jon Heyman had a few tweets on the subject earlier today, reading:

king felix doesnt have #yankees on no-trade list bec he fears nyc. rather, it appears strategic -- 10 biggest markets r on list

likely reason felix lists only big-market teams on no-trade is those teams are more likely to 1) trade for him, 2) pay him to waive right

Obviously, we don't know for sure why Felix's ten teams are Felix's ten teams, but if all ten are the big boys, then I think Heyman's reasoning is spot on - it makes sense to protect against the teams most likely to trade for you, and those are also the ten teams likely to pay him the most to waive his no-trade clause in the hypothetical event of a deal. It's a good use of a limited list.

Some people might find that a little deflating. Everybody wants to believe that Felix just wants to win with Seattle, so that we can feel like this is a two-way commitment. But what's important to understand is that you really shouldn't read too much into a player's contract if you can help it. For one thing, every player understands that, at its heart, baseball is a business. And for another thing, players have agents, and it's the agent's responsibility to secure the best deal possible. That's what he gets paid to do. And when a guy gets the best deal possible, then it doesn't really matter how he feels about a team - those feelings aren't going to show up in the terms of his contract. There are a ton of players who feel strongly about playing for certain organizations. There are far fewer players who end up signing contracts like Kerry Wood's. It doesn't mean much.

Try not to worry. Just because it's possible that Felix could get traded, and that Felix could get traded to the Yankees, doesn't mean it's going to happen. He's signed here for the next four years. He loves the city, the city loves him, and the organization is on the path towards building him a winner. I can't promise that it'll all work out for the best, but I can promise that, barring some complete and total surprise, we're going to get a chance to find out if it does.