As the 2013 MLB season gets ready to start in three weeks, there are players all over the league who are playing in the World Baseball Classic. The Seattle Mariners have to be happy that their best player isn’t one of them. Felix Hernandez finally hit the mound on Thursday and threw two solid innings in his spring debut as Seattle topped the previously unbeaten Kansas City Royals 12-2.
With some injury concerns facing Hernandez, he skipped the WBC and is taking his time getting ready for the season with the Mariners. Hernandez also got a huge new contract in the offseason worth $175 million which probably made his decision a logical one.
With a weak offense, the Mariners are a team that needs Hernandez to be at his best every time he steps on the mound. Seattle has improved the offense some with the additions of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, and if the team’s young players can hit a bit better than they have, the Mariners could be a team that wins 80 games this season especially with the addition of the Houston Astros into the division.
Hernandez went 13-9 last season and threw 232 innings. There is a lot of wear and tear on his right shoulder at this point, and even at age 27 the time may be nearing where the Mariners have to get into the playoffs before Hernandez’s arm falls out from exhaustion.
Hernandez has made all of his starts for the past four seasons, and I don’t see how that will change this season on an improved team. King Felix will prove why he received an average of $25 million per season when he wins 18 games this season.