TODAY: The Marlins “discussed a deal” with Arizona that would have brought back Corbin, Swanson, Inciarte, Blair, and infielder Brandon Drury, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes. That deal only “collapsed” when Arizona struck its trade with the Braves, he says, and the talks could illustrate a real willingness to trade Fernandez.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds (Twitter links) that at some point in the talks, Miami sought a six-player return that would’ve included Corbin and three other players who played in the majors last year for Arizona.
YESTERDAY: The asking price on Jose Fernandez is known to be sky-high, but reports tonight in the wake of the D-backs’ Shelby Miller blockbuster further illustrate the unlikely nature of a Fernandez trade. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Marlins were working on a trade with the Diamondbacks that would’ve included Patrick Corbin and Dansby Swanson in talks for Fernandez (Twitter link). Beyond that already-steep starting point, the Marlins asked that three other prospects be included in the deal, he adds.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Repbulic tweets that the package the D-backs sent to Atlanta to pry Miller away — Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair — “would not have come close” to what the team would’ve needed to acquire Fernandez from Miami, citing D-backs officials.
Similarly, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports (also on Twitter) that the Marlins asked the Dodgers to include not one or two but all three of Julio Urias, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager in addition to another pair of players. While reports earlier today indicated that L.A. was attempting to get a third team involved to find a creative means of acquiring Fernandez, that price tag seems like such a lofty starting point that it’s tough to even imagine talks becoming serious in nature.
Many will scoff at the reported asking prices listed here, but the Marlins have little incentive to trade Fernandez now without an offer that is impossible to refuse. We also don’t know whether other pieces were in play that would’ve gone from Miami to those clubs.
Realistic asks or not, the Marlins are placing an almost unmatchable asking price on Fernandez, it would seem, which lines up with most reports from the past few days. While he’s an oft-mentioned name, the most common refrain connected to Fernandez is that the Marlins aren’t trying to move but are instead simply open to being overwhelmed by an offer for their young ace. It’s easy to forget that Fernandez is still just 23 years old — younger than NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant. And, to this point in his career, Fernandez has pitched to a 2.40 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate.
Three years of affordable control over a 23-year-old starter with that track record of dominance ranks among the most valuable commodities in all of baseball, although one can only wonder how high the asking price would’ve been had the Marlins kept Fernandez in the minors for a couple of weeks to open the 2013 season. Because Fernandez was a 20-year-old that hadn’t pitched above Class-A Advanced at the time, no one would’ve questioned the move, and Miami could have subsequently delayed Fernandez’s free agency until after the 2019 season. Instead, Fernandez received a full year of service time in 2013 and is now on track to become a free agent after 2018.