GOOD NEWS: the SSI amigos watching the game thought Felix threw the ball well. He is producing. In 10 starts this year, he's got 5 clear quality starts and 3 that just missed: 5 IP and 1 ER on Saturday with a 5:0 CTL ... 5 IP and 2 ER on Opening Day with a 6:0 CTL ... 6.1 IP and 4 ER against the Marlins. He is no longer giving us 8 IP and 1 ER but we are getting to the bullpen in good shape.
BAD NEWS: the SSI blogger watching the first two innings thought to himself for the jillionth time, he's got to be VERY careful with that minus fastball. Or somebody will smack it out of the park with a stick. And it's tough for an ex-power pitcher to give up the feeling of throwing the ball by people for strike three. It's like asking The Donald to give up Mick Donald's.
GOOD NEWS: Felix actually is trying to wean himself off the fastball addiction, and make a genuine career transition. Saturday, he threw only 38 fastballs against 30 changeups and 25 curves/sliders. Also, he's still getting plenty of Strike Three's off the dry spitter. Six more whuffs on the changeup alone Saturday. A grizzed-vet staff ace still has to have some kind of go-to pitch.
In fairness, I still see Felix as a real good #3, giving the M's an ace, a 3+ and a couple of verrrrry young 3-4 starters. That could work for a stretch run if you had a jacked bullpen (we've had it lately) or a nice contributor at 5 SP.
BAD NEWS: The King is owed some pretty long green for 2018 and 2019.
GOOD NEWS: I hadn't realized it was only two more years. And his $26-27M per year will "only" require a shade over 3 WAR to come out even steven for his employers. As he completes his career transition it says here he will indeed be worth 3.0 WAR or close to it.
In any case he has earned $339M for us in baseball performance (gassssp!!) and there is nothing to regret about keeping a Mt. Rushmore Mariner around for the yellow shirts.
In other words, you wouldn't give Felix $50M for his next two years in isolation -- but that is beside the point. There is a broader context to big contracts for people like Felix Hernandez - what they have done during the contract, what they have done for the organization, what they do for your brand, as well as continued (more moderated) goodness they give you going forward. Dr. D is happy to have Felix - oddly, maybe a little more now than used to be the case.
REAL NEWS: Felix is of course an icon in Latin countries and here's one of their interviews from last weekend. Mostly flavor text, but a likable read.
BATTING HEROES SATURDAY
Jean "Sudden" Segura had two hits to raise his average to .352. Remember when we traded for him?
At SSI, we-all were optimistic, hopeful based on reasonable analysis, that a 203-hit man would continue to produce in the AL. At Royal Brougham, Jerry Dipoto hedged a little (at least for our benefit) asking us to accept a hitter who was midway between 2016's performance (a 122 OPS+) and 2015's performance (a 70 OPS+). We'd have all been very cool with a legit shortstop who slashed out a 105 to 115 OPS+.
Midway between 122 and 70? Not unless 137 is the midway point. And he looks even better than 137. For me, Jean Segura is as legitimate a star as anybody else around the league. More or less he gives the Mariners a Barry Larkin type at shortstop, at least over the next handful of years.
Worked out okay. We can close the books here.
Boomstick has 73 RBI in 88 games. The M's have four legitimate hitting stars right now, tons of depth around them, and I love that they're not going waste this season dithering about when to press things. They've got two pair in 7-stud and two cards to go.