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It's Back!

I know, I hate this discussion too
I know, I hate this discussion too

Over the offseason, people wrote about the possibility of the Mariners trading Felix Hernandez, given that the team probably wasn't going to contend in 2012. People had been writing about the Mariners trading Felix for years, but last offseason was the last we'd heard of it. Until now! In 2012, the Mariners aren't contending, so here's Ken Rosenthal on the possibility of the Mariners trading Felix Hernandez!

Our official position is unchanged, literally unchanged from what it's always been. To summarize:

  • There is a certain logic to what you're saying, but
  • no
  • Felix is ours
  • and you can't have him
  • because Felix is ours

There's nothing new to be said on the matter. I mean, there are new little details - Jesus Montero can't be traded from the Yankees to the Mariners again, for example, and Dellin Betances has been terrible, and Manny Banuelos hasn't been much, and so on - but the skeleton of the argument is the same. It's the exact same. Felix is a guy you build around, and prospects aren't guarantees, and the Mariners are getting better fast, and I mean Jesus Christ, it's Felix, you trade Felix and you deal a devastating blow to the fans you have left, which matters even if the fans would come back in time. I watched Hard Candy not too long ago, and in the film the Ellen Page character prepares to castrate the Patrick Wilson character on a kitchen counter. That's what I think trading Felix would feel like. The rumors would be like the castration anticipation, which would be the worst. A trade would be like the actual castration, which would also be the worst.

I can't think of a single thing that would damage my baseball fandom more than the Mariners trading Felix Hernandez away. I guess Michael Saunders could knock on my door, spit in my face, steal my girlfriend, and take my espresso machine that I took from Matthew. That would make me reconsider things, because I really like espresso. But in terms of realistic things, there's trading Felix, and then there's everything else. Not all of the damage would be irreparable, but some of it would be. I'd forever lose a little piece of my heart.

Grant Brisbee just wrote about this very thing. I edited that article, and I love it. Go read that. Read it and agree with it. Not only will you be given the satisfaction of having an opportunity to nod your head; you'll boost Baseball Nation's traffic numbers, which is good for Baseball Nation, which is good for me, which is good for you, for reasons I haven't worked out yet but you should trust me on. Reading that article will be doubly good for you.

The timing of this Rosenthal article could also be a little better, not because of baseball reasons, but because right now the Thunder are playing the Heat in the NBA Finals. I think? Or did somebody win? I know next to nothing about basketball and I'm not as torn up about the Thunder as so many other one-time Sonics fans, but it is an unpleasant feeling to watch them succeed. A Felix trade, of course, wouldn't work like the Sonics' move, unless somebody bought the Mariners, complained about Safeco, negotiated in bad faith, and moved Felix to Oklahoma, but can you imagine watching Felix pitch well somewhere else? Can you imagine some other fan base falling in love with Felix as if he's belonged to them all along? This position is purely emotional, and decisions shouldn't be made or not made on emotion alone, but fuck that fan base. There's no way I wouldn't hate that fan base. I'd hate them for when they loved Felix, and I'd hate them for when they criticized Felix. Shut up, he should be ours. Shut up, he's perfect.

It is perfectly reasonable for Rosenthal to write about the Mariners trading Felix, just as it would be perfectly reasonable for Rosenthal to write about the ... uhh ... team ... trading ... there isn't another situation quite like the Mariners' situation with Felix that I can think of. Starlin Castro and the Cubs doesn't count, because Castro is cheap and he drives people crazy and he isn't a superstar. Justin Morneau and the Twins doesn't count, because Morneau doesn't look like the hitter he used to be. The Padres don't have even a single actual baseball player. There isn't a situation like this one, so this situation gets written about. It makes sense.

It's just been ages since anyone added anything to the conversation. We just keep talking about the same considerations over and over and over. This is chatter between amnesiacs. "What about A?" "Well, B." "But what about A?" "There's B."

More interesting is Rosenthal's suggestion that the Mariners could trade Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, or James Paxton instead for a bat. Rosenthal calls this a position of strength, and the Mariners do have a number of high-level pitching prospects, although the overall organizational ranks are fairly thin. I am all about trading pitching prospects for equivalently talented hitting prospects, because hitting prospects flame out less often. But other organizations know that, so they probably wouldn't offer up equivalently talented hitting prospects. The likelihood is that we'd be looking at something of a lateral move, and have you thought about what the Mariners' 2013 rotation might look like without Danny Hultzen in it? The minors contain good starting pitching. The Mariners are in need of good starting pitching.

Most interesting might be Rosenthal's intro. According to Ken Rosenthal's sources, the Mariners have asked about Starlin Castro, and they've asked about Billy Butler. Other hitters, too, that aren't named. Every team in baseball should feel compelled to check in on Castro, just because. Butler's a DH, and a poor defensive first baseman. Do the Mariners believe that strongly that Jesus Montero can catch long-term? Alternatively, are the Mariners just about out of patience with Justin Smoak? I'm just throwing out speculative questions based on incredibly limited possible knowledge, but now you're thinking about the questions. Are the Mariners getting tired of Smoak? Maybe! They reportedly asked about a guy who could play his position!

It's a nothing day and I couldn't not respond to Rosenthal's column. That's the thing about those columns - they always oblige a response. But as Felix is concerned, the argument's always the same, and the response is always the same. I see what you're saying, but, no, nope. One hopes that the people who advance this argument are getting as tired of hearing the same response as we are of giving it.