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The former AL Cy Young winner is signing on with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a better-than-expected 2020 campaign, as they finished fourth in the AL East division. But this offseason, the team decided to trade starting pitcher Alex Cobb to the Los Angeles Angels. With a void in the starting rotation, the O’s decided to take a chance on a big name pitcher, who just so happened to remain on the open market.
According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Orioles are signing former Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez to a minor league contract. In the deal, Hernandez will make $1 million if he makes the 40-man roster.
Orioles hoping Hernandez brings back that Mariners magic
At the early portion of his career, Hernandez was lights out during his time in Seattle. In his 15 years with the Mariners, Hernandez won the AL Cy Young award in 2010, the ERA title twice (2010, 2014) and was named to the All-Star Game six times (2009, 2011-15). But beginning in 2018, Hernandez’s production nose-dived.
In that 2018 campaign, Hernandez posted a 5.55 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and a 8-14 record. Things didn’t get much better in 2019, as his ERA ballooned to 6.40 and held won a single game in 15 starts. That year would be his last with the Mariners, as he hit the open market.
Hernandez accumulated a 169-139 overall record, a 3.42 ERA and 1.206 WHIP during his decade and a half with the Mariners.
Last offseason, Hernandez signed with the Atlanta Braves on a similar minor league deal. The veteran would only pitch during spring training, before opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
This is a win-win situation for both parties. The Orioles get to bring in a big-name starter on the cheap, while Hernandez has the opportunity to earn significant starts in 2021.