Felix Hernandez has signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves in an attempt to pitch for them in the 2020 MLB season.
Hernandez, who has only pitched for the Seattle Mariners since joining the league, became an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Now, he will try to become the No. 5 starter for the Braves.
According to MLB analyst Jon Heyman, Hernandez has agreed to an NRI deal, meaning he still has to compete for a spot on the 40-man roster.
An NRI is a non-roster invitee who isn’t on the official roster yet but is still invited to Spring Training to try out for the job. In this case, the Braves are extending an offer of $1 million should Hernandez prove he deserves a spot in the rotation.
King Felix Hernandez signs NRI deal with Braves.
$1,000,000. Will try for 5th starter
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2020
This is a big deal, as there had been a number of questions surrounding what King Felix might do after spending so many years with the Mariners. He finished his time with a number of struggles, leading the team to move on in a new direction.
Last season for the Mariners, Hernandez went 1-8 as a starter, taking the mound 15 times in an injury-impacted season. He posted a 6.40 ERA and 1.535 WHIP, suggesting his days as an ace could be behind him.
Hernandez is just 33 years old, but he has put a lot of miles on his dominant right arm. That included winning the 2010 American League Cy Young Award while leading the league with 249 2/3 innings pitched.
The year before that, he finished with a 19-5 record, a 2.49 ERA, and a 1.135 WHIP that earned him second place in the AL Cy Young voting.
The six-time AL All-Star is now hoping that he can recharge his career with a new franchise, and he is taking a huge pay cut to continue his Major League career.
After earning just about $28 million last season with the Mariners, he now looks to make just $1 million in a prove-it deal with the Braves.