Félix Hernández
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Félix Hernández may have been on his way to a comeback season


Everyone has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and precautions taken to combat it: stadium workers, grounds crew, fans, coaches, and of course, the players. Minor league players won’t get paid for a while longer. Coaches have no one to coach. Fans have nothing to watch. It’s a tough time for us all.

On the lighter side of things, it is interesting to think what might have been — and, technically, what still could be — for certain players. Félix Hernández is one of those players who stands out to me. A Mariners legend, the soon-to-be 34-year-old has had it rough over the last three years, battling injuries and ineffectiveness. Since the start of the 2017 season, Hernández went 15-27 with a 5.42 ERA and a 260/110 K/BB ratio over 314 innings. He was a shadow of who he used to be: the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner with three other runner-up finishes.

Hernández, who inked a minor league deal with the Braves in January, was looking good in four Grapefruit League appearances before the league suspended operations. Over 13 2/3 innings, the right-hander held the opposition to three runs on 13 hits and five walks with 14 strikeouts. Yes, it’s only spring training and it’s a small sample size, but that’s all we have to go off of right now.

It would have been fun if Hernández was able to stay healthy and pitch effectively once again. He still can, but if what Jon Heyman has been hearing is accurate, we may not be seeing regular season games until late May or June. The comeback attempts for Hernández and others — Baltimore’s Chris Davis comes to mind — will be even tougher.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.