NEW YORK -- Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has maintained all season that he has no intention of dealing Felix Hernandez, but the topic has popped to the forefront again this week as the team hit the East Coast amid a lengthy losing streak and with the Trade Deadline looming Sunday.
So Zduriencik has reiterated that Hernandez is property of the Mariners and will remain so.
"When you come to a city like this, everybody asks the question," Zduriencik said Wednesday. "But I've said the same thing I've said all along. You've got a No. 1 commodity, and that's the toughest thing in the game to find. We've got a guy who wants to be here in our city, he's our franchise player and we'll continue to keep him here and enjoy what he does for us."
Because the Mariners are struggling offensively, many assume the team might be willing to deal its ace in order to bolster that shortcoming. But Zduriencik wants to build around Hernandez and standout rookie right-hander Michael Pineda for the long term, knowing they'll be impossible to replace later.
Hernandez is under contract with Seattle through 2014. And the Mariners aren't going to give up their American League Cy Young Award winner for lesser-known commodities.
"Philosophically if someone says you can get two, three, four or five players, whatever they say it is, people aren't going to break up a big league club," Zduriencik said. "So anybody that makes any kind of decision is going to offer you prospects.
"When we get to where we want to get to, you're going to have to have this piece, and that's why people desire him, because he's a No. 1 starter. Find that somewhere else. That's hard -- very difficult. And when you get into the playoffs and want to win, you better have one. If you don't, you're going to be looking for one.
"So right now, we're enjoying him, he's enjoying us," Zduriencik said. "And as we put this thing together, we're happy as heck he's here and we intend to keep him here."