The Atlanta Braves right-hander Felix Hernandez has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season after signing a minor league contract this offseason.
This is likely a case of the situation becoming very real in a hurry. I’m sure coming in and competing this year while hopefully prolonging his career sounded good on paper but once players in camp tested positive it forced his hand to make a decision.
In this climate, it’s completely understandable for any player to bow out of the 2020 campaign; possibly even more so for a 34-year-old with a wife, two kids, and over $220 million in career earnings according to spottrac.
It certainly comes as a disappointment for the Atlanta Braves and surely some Braves fans that we won’t get to see King Felix don a Braves jersey.
Hernandez signed a minor league contract in the offseason with hopes to break into the end of the Braves rotation. However, it’s been a tough past couple of seasons for the former ace.
After breaking into the Majors with the Mariners at the age of 19 Hernandez blossomed into an ace in is age 23 season.
He was the staple of durability and production throwing over 190 innings in each of his first 10 full seasons. The past three seasons however haven’t gone too well, he’s struggled to get on the field, and even when he did it wasn’t great.
His fastball had lost velocity and he just wasn’t the same pitcher. Perhaps it’s the over 2,700 innings he’s pitched, but things started to look up in his outings over Spring Training.
He pitched 13.2 innings allowing only 3 runs on 14 strikeouts and no home runs allowed. Now I know Spring Training stats are no reason to completely overlook three rough years, but I don’t think I was the only one looking for a reason for him to make the roster.
Before the shortened season it was likely the best-case scenario for Hernandez to be used as a stop-gap pitcher until one of the top prospects was ready to claim the back of the rotation spot.
After the shortened season his value elevated as rosters were expanded and with the scheduling of the games you couldn’t have too much pitching.
Do you think this is the end of the road for the 6-time All-Star and former Cy Young award winner or will we see King Felix again?