It's no secret at this point that Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is well past his playing prime, and the 2010 AL Cy Young has the guts to admit it.
Bleacher Report's Scott Miller did a detailed feature on Hernandez, who is coming to terms with the fact that he's not an All-Star pitcher at this stage of his career. He's 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and 1.404 WHIP in 2018.
But though Hernandez has 168 wins and the only perfect game in Mariners history, 'King Felix' feels like he's let the Mariners down. This is despite him being one of the only bright spots on a Seattle team that last made the playoffs in 2001, the longest playoff drought in North American sports right now.
Miller detailed a time where Hernandez "snapped" when the Mariners told him that he was moving to the bullpen. Teammates Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon tried offering support, as well as Texas Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre.
"I'm so disappointed in myself. I've let the team down," Hernandez told his wife Sandra. "I've let the city down."
A six-time All-Star and two-time AL ERA leader, Hernandez owns a handful of the Mariners pitching franchise records. This includes wins (168), strikeouts (2,439), and innings (2,620).
Thus, it's unfair for Hernandez to be hard on himself, considering he was among the few standout players on the Mariners for almost a decade. But with the Mariners sitting at 15 games above .500 (79-64), one can't help but wonder where they'd be right now if Hernandez was still performing at an All-Star level.
Hernandez can draw inspiration from 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. After several years of being by far the best pitcher in the AL, Verlander experienced up-and-down tenures in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
But Verlander came back in 2016 and nearly won the AL Cy Young. A year later, he was dealt to the Houston Astros and led them to their first World Series championship. That was at the age of 34, and Hernandez is only 32.
"It's been a tough year, man," Hernandez said. "But you know what? I'm hanging in there. I'm competing. That's all I can do."