Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/18/14
As the Seattle Mariners toil through another lackluster season, many have begun to wonder if this team will ever be competitive again. Fan interest is at an all-time low with only one true star to rally around; that poor soul being Felix Hernandez. As the Mariners drudge through what feels like their 10th straight rebuilding year, some have started to question if trading the ace might actually be in the best interest of the club. While that seemed almost sacrilegious a couple years ago, it’s becoming more plausible with every passing month of Mariner obscurity. As it looks today, the Mariners are still a couple years away from even being relevant in the competitive AL West. The Oakland A’s have hit on a number of their prospects, something the Mariners have failed to do so far during the Jack Z era. The Texas Rangers, meanwhile, have made smart moves in free agency, most notably not resigning the likes of Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson. These two teams appear to have the rosters to stay atop the division for the foreseeable future even with the impending improvement of the Mariners young roster.  If this is the case, then why not trade Hernandez for a plethora of top minor league talent? A pitcher of his prowess will command multiple Grade A level prospects, meaning guys who are can’t miss big leaguers. Why waste Hernandez’s talents on a team that will never make the playoffs? By trading him, the Mariners could finally acquire some offensive talent to pair with their stable of young pitching prospects in Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. The trio that has been touted as the saviors of Mariners baseball should all be in a major league uniform by the end of next season. But still the question remains, how will they score any runs?  There are multiple contending teams with high level offensive prospects that would love to add Felix Hernandez to the top of their rotations. In a lot of ways, trading Hernandez makes sense from a purely baseball perspective for the Mariners. But here’s why you absolutely cannot trade him. He actually likes being a Mariner. He’s Edgar Martinez as opposed to A-Rod. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract marquee players to the Pacific Northwest. Why would we dump one who enjoys being here? He’s stuck with us throughout all the dismal seasons. Maybe he just wants to be a part of it when the Mariners finally turn it around. Another reason why you can’t trade him is because he is a true number one. At his best, he has arguably the best stuff in baseball. You could definitely make a case for Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and a few others, but he is right there. There are only a handful of guys in Major League Baseball that can be as consistently dominant as Hernandez and they don’t just grow on trees. Those prized few need to be guarded and protected. Also, he’s been doing this at the big league level for seven years. We, and the Mariners, know what we’re getting from him. Even the most talented of prospects have proved nothing on the big stage. Nothing is guaranteed but it’s always a safer bet to count on a guy who’s already doing it as opposed to someone who still has to prove they can. Felix Hernandez is the one identifiable star within the Mariners organization. He’s the face of the franchise. Without him, fan interest could dwindle to practically nothing. With all of the talk and excitement about potentially landing an NHL team and now with rumblings of NBA expansion coming, Mariner fans could be looking elsewhere to spend their time and money. Leaving them without a star to cheer for could do irreversible damage to the Mariners. One day the M’s will be competitive again. Hopefully Felix Hernandez is still a part of it.  Zach Beehler is on Twitter. Follow him at @ZachBeehler
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

Report: Browns interested in drafting Marcus Mariota

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

WATCH: South Alabama coach bloodied after kick to the face

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.