There are four pitchers who have nailed down jobs in the the starting rotation for the Nationals this coming season. As we wait around for Washington to sign Taijun Walker or one of Jim Hickey’s former disciples, they should court Felix Hernandez with the notion he’ll fight for the fifth starter job, or find a home in the bullpen as the long guy.
King Felix is not the pitcher who won 19 games in 2009 or the guy who won the Cy Young Award the following year. However, he probably isn’t the pitcher who went 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 2019 for the Seattle Mariners, either.
After signing a minor league contract last year with the Atlanta Braves, Hernandez pitched very well during spring training. Well enough he would have earned a spot on the roster for the eventual National League East Division Champions.
Instead he opted out of the season.
With the years rest his arm received heres hoping Hernandez is more like the 2009 version and not the 2019. Kicking the tires to see if there is any tread left on them, well worth the price of admission for the Nationals. If he sticks, odds are it only costs the incentives in his contract offered him to lure Felix from the competition.