The best pitcher in baseball?
It depends on who you ask.
According to early average draft positions in fantasy baseball, Clayton Kershaw is generally the tops. Stephen Strasburg also is there. Justin Verlander gets some props, too.
If you ask the Seattle Mariners, however, the best pitcher is Felix Hernandez.
And they’re paying him to prove it.
According to reports, Mariners signed Hernandez to a seven-year, $175 million contract — the richest given to a pitcher.
In my opinion, it’s also the biggest mistake.
Although Hernandez is 26, he’s coming off of four straight years where he’s pitched at least 232 innings. Some, and maybe the Mariners are in that group, might look at it as consistency. I see arm troubles ahead.
How many times have pitchers signed mega-contracts only to not live up to them? I’m thinking Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, Johan Santana and Barry Zito.
It’s hard to come up with names of pitchers who have lived up to their contracts.
It’s also tough for a franchise like the Mariners to absorb a bad contract like the New York Yankees can.
It’s very risky, one that could bury a franchise for years.
Good luck, Mariners.
– Rick Green (follow me on Twitter @ETNrgreen)