While specifics of the deal aren’t known, Marlins president David Samson told reporters today, including Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link), that ace Jose Fernandez rejected a long-term contract offer made by the team. It’s not exactly surprising that Fernandez, a Scott Boras client coming off a season that was shortened by 2014 Tommy John surgery, would be averse to a long-term pact at this time. Boras clients rarely sign pre-arbitration extensions, and Fernandez’s value is down due to his long layoff (although he was utterly dominant when healthy). A right biceps strain also slowed Fernandez late in the season, but he’s still one of the two faces of the Miami franchise, alongside Giancarlo Stanton. An extension for Fernandez, if even possible, would figure to be exceptionally lucrative, though the 23-year-old and his agent may simply prefer to wait until he’s pitched a full season post-Tommy John before even opening their minds to such a concept.
A few more notes from Samson’s session with the media…
- The Marlins have a known desire to add starting pitching this winter, but Samson says the team won’t pursue the top tier of available arms, via Jackson’s tweet above. That means that David Price and Zack Greinke are off the table, and I’d imagine that Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann are similarly too pricey for Miami’s tastes. The Marlins, of course, weren’t expected to pursue free agents of that caliber anyhow, although the Fish did jump into the James Shields derby late last offseason.
- Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who missed nearly all of the 2015 season with shoulder injuries that eventually required surgery, won’t be ready for Opening Day, according to Samson (via Jackson). The 25-year-old Alvarez was Miami’s Opening Day starter and has a no-hitter under his belt since coming to Miami by way of a trade with Toronto, but the Marlins aren’t even decided on whether or not they’ll tender him a contract, per Samson. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Alvarez to earn $4MM next season, and while that’s not an outrageous number, the team could conceivably cut ties if the belief is that Alvarez’s injuries will keep out for a significant portion of 2016.
- Via MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (on Twitter), first base/infield coach Perry Hill will return to the coaching staff for a third straight season. Lenny Harris will return as the assistant hitting coach/third base coach, and Reid Cornelius will reprise his role as bullpen coach. With a new manager entering the picture, the future of the coaching staff can always be a bit uncertain, but it appears that there won’t be sweeping changes under newly minted skipper Don Mattingly. However, Mattingly did indicate at today’s press conference that he believes Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach will accompany him from L.A. to Miami.
- Frisaro also tweets that former Major Leaguers Joey Cora and Mark DeRosa interviewed for the Marlins’ managerial vacancy. Both former infielders have been doing broadcasting work recently but were well-liked and well-respected players during their playing careers.