King Felix Hernandez can now purchase the crown jewels of England if he so desires.
ESPN’s Buster Olney has broken the details of Hernandez’s new extension (5 years $135.5 mil) which will make him the highest paid pitcher in the game.
It seems like just yesterday Cole Hamels was making headlines with his mega-extension, but that’s old news now.
Hamel’s deal came up short of CC Sabathia’s contract with the Yanks, and was surpassed by both Hernandez and Zach Greinke this off-season.
King Felix has been the unquestioned ace of the Mariners since his arrival as a teenager in 2005. Now, as the highest paid pitcher no one can question his dominance over the baseball realm.
But do his new found riches make him the unquestioned best pitcher in the game?
Too much attention and credit gets heaped on players once they cash in big, but it’s hard to fight human nature. Hernandez is the latest big money pitcher, but he won’t be the last. His $27.1 avg. annual salary trumps Cole Hamels by a couple million, but I don’t see that as justification for superiority.
To get to the bottom of this debate I turned to the numbers Not the cash, but the stats.
|162 Game Avg.||14||11||3.22||34||3||1||231||212||93||83||19||69||212||127||1.212||3.10|
|162 Game Avg.||15||10||3.34||34||2||1||221||197||87||82||27||55||210||126||1.138||8.5||3.80|
These two pitchers have a lot more in common on paper than you might think. Hamels, the smooth throwing lefty, and Hernandez, the fire-balling righty, have nearly an identical career ERA+. Hamels has pitched one fewer season, but his avg. annual IP aren’t far behind the King’s nor his strikeouts. The only big difference between the two pitchers is Hamels weakness for the long ball.
The stat sheet may not provide a clear answer, but their trophy case is what truly sets these pitchers apart.
Felix has three all-star appearances to go along with a Cy Young award and a perfect game. Not too bad.
Cole on the other hand matches Felix in all-star games, and has a World Series MVP.
Cy Young awards are nothing to scoff at but very few pitchers take home a World Series MVP (along with the ring). It may be circumstantial, but Hamels has pitched on Baseball’s biggest stage and pitched lights out. I won’t bemoan anyone trying to argue that Hernandez is the better pitcher, but until he brings his dominance to October I’ll take Cole Hamels on the mound any day of the week.