MLB Week in Review (September 7-13)

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Reports surfaced this week regarding one of the best pitchers of this era who was about to quit after losing his spot in the rotation.

Felix Hernandez has been one of the most dominant pitchers over the last decade and when he was moved to the bullpen earlier this year it was the first major sign that he was on his way out.

The Seattle Mariners can’t be blamed for that as they were looking to break the longest postseason drought in North America with a host of new arms in the rotation.

They had no room to wait for Hernandez to come around after a few years of subpar play on the mound.

Although Hernandez has been one of the best in the league the last few years have been tough for the former all-star.

He doesn’t really have the same dominance he used to so the Mariners pushed him to the bullpen.

This story is a lot more than just an ageing pitcher being moved to the bullpen on his way out of the league and into retirement.

For years the man that Mariners fans knew as King Felix was really the only reason to watch the Mariners.

Once every five days Mariners fans got to see a truly special play take the mound and give them a very good shot at a win.

He was really the only great player on the Mariners and he continued to try to keep things up as he hoped the Mariners would compete.

The tragic part of this story is happening now as the Mariners are finally a competitive team looking to make a run at the postseason.

They still have some work to do to get that wild card spot but they are in the hunt which is a lot for a team that has struggled to play competitive baseball in September.

Just as this team is rising to be a postseason team their best player for such a long time is beginning to see time catch up to him.

There is no player who can play forever and for a pitcher, it is extremely tough to stay dominant for years.

Eventually, batters adjust and that constant battle is going to be lost when the arm begins to fall off.

Hernandez is at that point in his career as his arm is just not the same as it used to be but it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

He has given a lot to Seattle as he could have easily signed somewhere else where he would have played in the postseason or potentially won a World Series.

Instead, he stayed with Seattle to try to break that drought and give those fans something to cheer about.

Now that the team is right there on the cusp of competing he can’t provide the support that he wants to in order to help the team.

Now as the stretch comes to an end Hernandez is almost a non-factor being put in the bullpen to provide some relief in case things go wrong.baseball-sidebar

This could be the end to an illustrious career as Hernandez is clearly coming near the end of his career and the Mariners want to move on to younger arms.

It will not be the end he was hoping for but he isn’t the only one who has had to deal with this type of end to a career.

Father time is undefeated as there will always come a time when age and time catch up to a player.

Hernandez happens to be experiencing it at the worst time and after so many years attempting to provide a boost to a franchise he can no longer help them just when they are ready.

It’s understandable that after years as a starter for the team Hernandez wanted to leave the game altogether after being moved.

He took it like everyone else, a sign that he might not be the same pitcher that he used to be making him less valuable.

Without a real role, the move was essentially an attempt to keep one of the most important players in franchise history along for the ride.

No player wants to do that but should they make the postseason Hernandez could finally have a chance to play October baseball.

He certainly wants to be involved in the run but not in this way, that is the reality of a player not being able to really contribute.

Whether or not they make the playoffs this story could be one of those where an extremely important player who will consistently be a hero in a city just missed out on the best years of that franchise.

Extra Innings

One Last Run

David Wright was a player similar to Hernandez in that he was one of the best players in the league on a team struggling to stay relevant. His story is different though as he was shut down due to his body breaking down. In 2015 he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis beginning years of health issues. After neck surgery in 2016 and continued issues with his back, Wright was a rare sight in the lineup over the last few years. He did get to see postseason baseball but his career was essentially taken away due to medical issues. With the end of his career approaching after only playing 75 games in the last four years, including missing all of 2017 and all of this season, he will get his chance to get back on the field. It seems as though Wright will finally call it quits at the end of the 2018 season and so the Mets will put Wright in the starting lineup for the final homestand of the season and likely final homestand of his career.

A Lifetime Deal

 Mike Trout is following a similar pattern to players like Wright and Hernandez as he could be the most talented player in the league stuck on a team that can’t compete. Trout is widely considered one of, if not the best player in baseball but with the Angels he has yet to win a postseason game, only making a single appearance in 2014. It is considered one of the biggest wastes of talents in the league and now Trout will have a major decision to make. The Angels have reportedly expressed some interest in signing Trout to what would be a lifetime deal keeping on the Angels for the rest of his career. His contract will come up in 2020 but the Angels are interested in signing the 27-year-old to a monster deal this offseason to keep the best player in baseball in Anaheim. Trout will need to make a decision on whether or not he would trust the Angels to be competitive or if he should wait until 2020 to see if going to a contender would be a better idea.

First In

The Boston Red Sox have been one of the best teams all year and as they see the end of the regular season coming they seem to only be getting stronger. They will hope to continue that trend as they are the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason this year. The Red Sox are the first team in as they look to take one of their best seasons towards another World Series title. They earned their first 100-win season since the 1990s and are looking like a real contender while other teams begin to falter near the end of the year.

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