Felix Hernandez is at Braves camp, and it doesn’t feel remotely normal.
Felix Hernandez signing with the Atlanta Braves actually fits in quite well to this alternate reality we’ve all seemingly slipped into. King Felix will no longer be donning Mariners colors to take the bump at T-Mobile Park, which will take some getting used to — and not just for Seattle sports fans. Hernandez was built into the baseball culture out West, and in his decade of service to the Mariners franchise became the face of Pacific Northwest MLB action.
King Felix is adding a veteran presence to a young Atlanta rotation, and will fight for the No. 5 spot this summer.
Felix Hernandez in Braves threads will take some getting used to.
Hernandez’s last two seasons have produced uninspiring results, with Felix registering ERAs of 5.55 and 6.40 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. That won’t fit well with a Braves team hoping to make a playoff push in a shortened season, but given the short-term, team-friendly deal Atlanta was able to sign him for this winter, it’s worth a flyer on a former Cy Young award winner. Felix is only 33 years old, and can surely reinvent himself if Rick Kranitz can convince him to change his approach.
Gone are the days when Hernandez can strike out 10 or more batters with his filthy arsenal. But Felix’s pinpoint control could come in handy every fifth day, or as a long reliever coming out of the bullpen.
At this point, however, Hernandez is just like the rest of us, preaching safety with an MLB season hopefully on the horizon. While his Braves uniform is an odd sight for baseball fans, any live sporting event featuring one of the best pitchers of his era will be embraced by Braves and Mariners fans alike.
Baseball is back, and so is Felix Hernandez, just in a different role than he’s accustomed to.