Seattle Mariners Offseason Plan – If The M’s Had The Rays’ Budget

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Sep 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) waves to the fans as he walks off the field after being pulled from the game during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners sign Felix Hernandez for eight years, $200 million.

There’s no way the Mariners can keep Felix Hernandez, right? The Yankees and Dodgers and Red Sox and Tigers and Angels and Rangers and Astros and White Sox and Cubs and Diamondbacks and Cardinals and Braves and Nationals and Mets and Marlins are all lined up in front of Hernandez’s Bellevue home with their respective dump trucks full of cash. There’s no way the tiny-budget Mariners can compete.

Except that they can, based on the roster they’ve surrounded Felix with and the bond between player and franchise. That’s not Felix’s house we’re talking about up there, it’s his home. It’s hard to believe in the loyalty of a star athlete these days. But with Felix, it’s different. All we’ve ever had is indications that Felix genuinely loves Seattle and wants to stay forever, even if it means giving the team something of a discount.

As the biggest free agent since, well, Robinson Cano, Felix will have a chance to become the highest-paid pitcher of all time. But the Mariners are able to get him at $25 million per season because of the love factor. His near-Cy Young season means the Cheapo M’s have to guarantee him an extra year over what his real-life deal is paying him, but his extra year of age keeps the AAV in line with his real deal. The Yankees and their $250 million offer are left standing in the rain. A big truck drives by and splashes muddy drain water all over the Yankees and their stupid money. The Mariners, with the lowest payroll in the league, walk away with the prized free agent of the offseason.

Offseason complete! Now check out this roster, built on the cheap: