NEW YORK -- The Yankees or any team could basically offer their whole farm system and Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said he will not trade reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez by this Sunday's trade deadline.
"You can say nine guys," Zduriencik told ESPNNewYork.com. "You could say 12 guys. What does it matter? The deal is we have a guy who we relish. We want to get to a point where we are competitive and as good as any club in baseball. To get to that point, you have to have top-of-the-rotation starters. We've got it. Your best asset, you ought to keep, and that is what we intend to do."
The fact that the Mariners entered Tuesday night's game at Yankee Stadium having lost 16 straight has not changed Zduriencik's long-term plan. The Mariners added to their woes, losing 4-1 Tuesday night, upping their losing streak to 17.
The Yankees have tried to trade for Hernandez in the past, but have never been successful. Hernandez, 25, would be the ideal starter for them to slot in behind CC Sabathia for their postseason rotation. At the moment, it is unclear who would start a second playoff game for the Yankees.
Hernandez, 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA, will start against the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon, but Zduriencik has no intention of leaving him behind in any deals.
"I don't have (any) intention of trading Felix," Zduriencik said. "I've been saying it all along that what you have is a Cy Young Award winner who is 25 years old on your staff for a long period of time.
"Every club in baseball gets to the level -- the Yankees, the Red Sox, whoever it might be -- they have to have a one-two-three starters. In this particular case, we have a guy who is very, very special. He is signed to a contract and he is part of our organization. Now, we have a guy right behind him in (Michael) Pineda, and we have some really nice pieces right around the corner. It has a chance to be really good in the near future. Our guys, who we have pitched right now have pitched very well. The one thing we have had is we have had good pitching."
Hernandez is making $10 million this year. Next season, his salary jumps to $18.5 million. By 2014, it is $20 million. Still, the Mariners plan on keeping him as the centerpiece of their team.
"You start with pitching and build around that," Zduriencik said. "It is a tough commodity to give up. You might get some good players. You might get volume. It is very difficult to replace that guy. And Felix is that guy."
Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.