After losing out on this off-season’s biggest fish (he who shall not be named), the Yankees are left scrambling to add two more starters to their 2011 rotation. Andy Pettitte is nothing more than a question mark at this time and the Yankees really cannot bank on 200+ innings from Ivan Nova (nor should they). What if the Yankees went knocking on Seattle’s door and wanted to work out a trade for the 2010 AL Cy Young award winner, Felix Hernandez? Would selling the farm be worth it for a 24-year-old ace who has 71 career wins and a 3.20 career ERA? Would Seattle even be open to the idea? Let’s explore.

Before we begin to even attempt to put a package together for the Mariners’ ace, let’s take a few things into consideration…

  • Hernandez is entering the second year of a 5-year, $70 million contract. Over the next four seasons, he will be owed $16 million per season.
  • Hernandez has a partial ‘No-Trade’ clause in his contract, giving him the rights to block deals to ten teams annually.
  • What will it take to get Hernandez in pinstripes?
  • Is he even open to the idea of playing New York?

After adding Russell Martin and Pedro Feliciano, the current Yankee payroll sits at roughly $179 million. After figuring in raises for arbitration, the Yankee payroll will sit between $185-$190 million. After spending $213 million on players in 2010, the Yankees clearly have some money to work with. Another pitcher and a right-handed bat are clearly priorities, but the Yankees definitely have room to take on Hernandez’s salary.

Would Hernandez even accept a trade to New York? We simply just don’t know. The Mariners are no where near close to completing for a championship and injecting King Felix into the Big Apple would put him at the forefront of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry. Pairing him and CC Sabathia at the top of the Yankee rotation would form arguably the most talented duo in baseball.

While the thought of Hernandez in pinstripes is definitely alluring, what would it cost to land him? Well, during this past summer, Seattle asked for Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, Eduardo Nunez, and David Adams for half of a season of Cliff Lee. Given Hernandez’s age (24), talent (reigning Cy Young award winner), and cost ($70 million over the next four years), the Yankees would have to sweeten the offer. New York Post reporter, Joel Sherman, added in highly touted pitcher, Dellin Betances. Personally, I’d have no problem sending these five prospects to Seattle for arguably the most talented pitcher on the planet who is only entering his prime. One key word to remember when considering these players: Prospect.

Regardless of their lofty ceilings, they haven’t proven anything yet. When considering age and talent, Hernandez is the best at what he does.

By making this deal, Seattle is telling their already disgruntled fan base that they don’t plan on being competitive for 3-4 years. They would have to sell the fans on the costs saved from Hernandez’s contract and the young talent it plans to build around. Having a young nucleus of Montero, Nunez, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Franklin Gutierrez gives the team a lot of hope for the future. But is it really worth it to trade away the best young arm on the planet?

At the end of the day, a few roadblocks still stand in the way of this deal. The Mariners have stated that they WILL NOT trade Hernandez. The Yankees are still harboring some angry feelings after being left at the alter by the Mariners at the trade deadline. Fans already know that Brian Cashman really values his farm system and does not want to revert back to the early 2000s when he had a barren system and a roster full of aging veterans. In addition, Cashman has also said that the Yankees will remain ‘patient’. I guess that doesn’t mean he will go knocking down Seattle’s door, demanding Felix.

But honestly, how often do players as young and as dominant as Felix come around? Hernandez’s contract is┬ámanageable and the Yankees have clearly fallen behind the Phillies and Red Sox in terms of talent. Adding Hernandez to an already talented Yankee rotation probably thwarts the Bombers back on top as World Series favorites.

As much as I’d love to see Hernanez in the Bronx, I doubt we’ll see it happen in 2011. Seattle will probably want to keep him for at least another season and the Yankees clearly do not want to ‘sell the farm’. The day may come when Seattle makes The King available. Unfortunately, I don’t see that day coming in 2011.