Will Sox Pay a King’s Ransom for Felix Hernandez?


The Red Sox should trade Lester and Ellsbury for “King” Felix Hernandez; so says the Globe’s Nick Cafardo, but are there other Sox players to make a better deal?

Mr. Cafardo cites geography:

“The best part of it is that the Red Sox and Mariners would make terrific trading partners.
The Sox have two guys from the Northwest — Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury — who would probably love to come home. The drop-off from Hernandez to Lester isn’t overly substantial, and the gain of Ellsbury, a player who would electrify the Mariners’ offense, would be significant.”

In the next few days, the Mariners will realize their 2012 Wild Card fishing season is over; it’s time to “cut bait” and row to the market to trade their biggest fish for a bucket of salmon smolts, not a Tim Salmon or a John Smoltz, but a school of prospects that may become one.

In terms of his contract cost and trade value, a team would need to go “all in” to have the “King” rule their starting rotation.

Q: Which teams have the money, prospects, and guts it takes to reel in one of the top starters in MLB?

FACT:  Today, Hernandez is ranked the 10th best starter in MLB and the 4th best starter in the AL [http://rotoanalysis.com/2012/07/02/top100sp/]

A:  The Yankees, the Phillies, the Red Sox, the Rangers, the Angels and the Tigers are currently spending the most in MLB, so, they have the money.

The street says that King Felix would expect “Sabbathia money’ in his next contract; that would look like this:
2012 $23,000,000
2013 $23,000,000
2014 $23,000,000
2015 $23,000,000
2016 $25,000,000
2017 *$25,000,000

Hernandez is signed through 2014:
2012 $18,500,000
2013 $19,500,000
2014 $20,000,000

If the Sox acquired Hernandez and decided to extend him for a new 5-year contract, starting in 2015, he would be 29 at the start and 33 at the end; compare that to Sabbathia, who would be 34 in 2015.

If we take WAR values as a yardstick, Fernandez can make the case that he is worth “Sabbathia money.”

Sabbathia: 12 seasons : 2.441 career avg. Best season: 2009, 4.0.

Hernandez: 8 seasons : 3.575 career avg. Best season: 2010, 6.8.

BTW, the Red Sox are off the Lackey contract hook [$15,250,000 million] after 2014; that would be a good start toward the $23 tp $25 million that Hernandez would want in the first year of his Red Sox contract.

Q: Who has the best prospects to trade?

A:  Baseball America rated the MLB farm systems and the Big Six ranked: Yankees [#5], Phillies [#10], Rangers [#14], Red Sox [#17] and Tigers [#25]. And, let’s toss in the Dodgers at [#15], since they have new money to spend and pitching prospects to trade.

Q;  But, who has the “guts” to take such a huge risk in a “Boom or Bust” blockbuster deal?

[My GM idol, Bill Veeck, would be on speed dial by now.]

A: The Yankees and the Dodgers.

The Red Sox? This year, Cherington has acquired Marlon Byrd, “The Other” Chris Carpenter, Brent Lillibridge, Scott Eric Podsednik and Zach “That’s Hit a Long Way” Stewart. Feels like “Epstein Lite,” but, OK, we will explore who Ben could deal for “King Felix.”

Q: What could the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox out into a blockbuster deal for Hernandez?

First, let’s assume that Seattle will be going into “Astros’ Mode,” they need an OF [or two], a SS, starting pitchers, a Third baseman, and a First baseman, a proven C. [We will assume that Mike Zunino will become their franchise catcher in a year or so.]


Mason Williams [OF], Slade Heathcott [OF], Cito Culver [SS], J.R. Murphy [3B]
Bryan Mitchell [RHP] and Austin Romine [C]; they now see Gary Sanchez as Montero with defense.


Joc Pederson [OF], James Baldwin [OF], Scott Van Slyke [1B], Tim Federowicz [C], Alex Santana [3B],
Garrett Gould [RHP]


Lars Anderson [1B], Brandon Jacobs [OF], Kolbrin Vitek [3B], Jackie Bradley [OF], Jose Iglesias [SS],
Blake Swihart [C]

*[SEE DETAILS on these prospects, END OF POST]

OK, you are giving up SIX prospects, but you are getting an Ace Starter in his prime. Consider:

Lars Anderson [1B] Blocked by Gonzalez.
Brandon Jacobs [OF] Sox are knee deep in OF.
Kolbrin Vitek [3B] Blocked by Middlebrooks.
Jackie Bradley [OF] Sox are knee deep in OF.
Jose Iglesias [SS] Aviles, Deven Marerro , Xander Bogaerts
Blake Swihart [C] Salty, Lavarnway

The Sox retain their top five prospects: Bryce Brentz, Xander Bogaerts, Ryan Lavarnway, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and trade players who are blocked or in supply in the organization.


Yes, Nick, we agree that “the Red Sox and Mariners would make terrific trading partners.” But, unlike the deal you suggested, we keep Lester and Ellsbury.

Gotta’ go, I think that must be Ben vibrating my cell…

EARL:  Oh, hi, Nick!  Yeah…yeah….really? Nah, I’m stickin’ with the Bosox Injection

DETAILS BELOW; FOR MORE GO TO: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/

Brandon Jacobs
Rank: 6
Salem Red Sox (A+)
ETA: 2014
Position: OF
Age: 21, DOB: 12/08/1990
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 225
Drafted: 2009, 10th (318)

Kolbrin Vitek
Rank: 8
Status: Disabled 7-Day
ETA: 2014
Position: 3B
Age: 23, DOB: 04/01/1989
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6′ 2″, Weight: 195
Drafted: 2010, 1st (20)

Jose Iglesias
Rank: 10
Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
ETA: 2012
Position: SS
Age: 22, DOB: 01/05/1990
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 185
Signed: Sept. 30, 2009

Blake Swihart
Rank: 11
Greenville Drive (A)
ETA: 2015
Position: C
Age: 20, DOB: 04/03/1992
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 175
Drafted: 2011, 1st (26)

Jackie Bradley
Rank: 16
Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
ETA: 2013
Position: OF
Age: 22, DOB: 04/19/1990
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 5′ 10″, Weight: 180
Drafted: 2011, 1st (40)