Felix’s elbowFebruary 11th, 2013 by terrybenish
I wrote the stuff below in italics in Friday’s piece and it still is on point:
Felix had a phenomenal year in 2010 when he won the Cy Young award, 2009 was a year he should have won that award as well. 2011 he really fell off and then came back last year and had a very nice season despite a terrible September. In fact the last two years the last month has been bad for him.
In the month of August when the Mariners were playing well, coming off a good July their record each month was 15-11 and 15-12. What is startling is that last August Felix pitched in five games. He averaged 8.24 innings per game. One of those was the perfecto, for nine innings and he threw two other complete nine inning games and one for 7 2/3 innings and one for 7.0 innings. Three 1-0 wins, a 5-1 win and a no decision that the team lost. 523 pitches, 104 average. Then we move into September and one start in October. Six starts. Combined total of 35 1/3 innings. 54 hits and an ERA of 6.62…not a big ERA fan as a measure, but he was done and baked, stick a fork in him. So the team starts playing well and they’re competing for the first time in years in July and August. Three 1-0 wins and the perfecto as the center piece. In March to start the year his velocity had disappeared and there was wailing and consternation. It came back a bit but not way back. His pitch f/x data suggests a real slide the last three years.
If he’s your star you don’t destroy him by throwing him for nine innings a game start after start after start. That is really, really stupid and a measure of Wedge as a steward of his talent. So you hope he’s recovered, but he was not good the last time out for a month and now the team is ready to do this. I always come down on the side of the player, in that he’s a wonderful player and pitches his guts out. Good for him, none of those guys that own the team will miss the money.
I think the risk to them has been assessed in different ways by the Mariners. So his salary goes up at some point, this year or next year or two years from now, they’re working that out. As a general statement, the Mariners payroll declines a bunch at the end of this year. No Figgins or Gutierrez or Morse or Morales or Ibanez or Bay or Perez or Saunders or Garland. And there are a bunch of low priced pitchers and players that they will apparently incubate this summer, so that when Felix’s numbers kick up there is no appreciable increase in overall salary, quite the opposite.
So now the Mariners put in cya clause about Felix’s elbow and they move on and do deal.
Based on innings pitched, they’re being prudent. The investment in him, as in this renewal, has more to do with their perception of him as a guy that puts people in seats and in front of their television to watch. The intrinsic distinction in the remark is that other teams want to do that too, but believe the way to do it is to win. Mariners believe they can hype players and don’t need to win. It was true for a while, but attendance is dropping as is Q-factor, because the team stinks.
John McGrath this morning agreed with the Friday assessment quoted above.