10:16pm: The Diamondbacks are “out” of any effort to pry Fernandez from Miami, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Miami was seeking two of Arizona’s “best” players as well as “top prospects,” per the report.
8:06pm: Despite Hill’s comments, Stark reports (Twitter link) that the Marlins “think they’re making progress” on a deal with an “unspecified team.” He adds that a trade still seems unlikely.
6:18pm: Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter links) that Fernandez is “not available.” Here’s the full quote: “He’s not available. We haven’t made him available. But, it doesn’t stop the phone calls from happening.”
5:56pm: A source tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that the odds of a Fernandez deal appear to have dramatically increased over the course of the day. (Twitter link.) What seemed like a negligible possibility at the outset of the Winter Meetings could now be nearing even odds, per Olney’s source.
5:25pm: The Yankees have joined the two other clubs in “digging” for information on Fernandez, Stark reports. That could indicate that those organizations are looking to size up what they’d be willing to offer, of course, though it hardly suggests that Miami’s understandably steep asking price will fall to a palatable level.
10:12am: The Marlins also spoke to the Diamondbacks about Fernandez, reports Rosenthal (via Twitter), but Miami asked for a return of Patrick Corbin plus other pieces. The chances of a deal between the two sides are “slim,” per Rosenthal, who says Arizona is likely to look at lesser pitchers in trades after these seemingly brief talks.
8:11am: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that the Marlins asked the Dodgers for both Julio Urias and Corey Seager in exchange for Fernandez, illustrating the fact that the Marlins aren’t shopping him but only looking to move him if they can receive an overwhelming return. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports asked one rival exec what he thought the Dodgers would need to part with in order to acquire Fernandez, and the exec said Urias, Seager and Scott Van Slyke — an even more sizable haul.
2:52am: The Dodgers and others have checked in on Fernandez but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (Twitter link) that “no serious talks” have taken place. Frisaro says Miami will listen to teams but he reiterates that a Fernandez trade isn’t likely to happen.
12:48am: Despite public protestations, the Marlins are holding trade discussions regarding prized righty Jose Fernandez, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. Talks have been had with the Dodgers and at least two other teams, one of which appears to be the Diamondbacks, per the report.
That being said, Stark emphasizes that the organization is putting such a huge asking price on the 23-year-old that it’s still considered “a long shot” that anything will get done. The Marlins are reportedly advising other teams that they’d need to a return that would make the team “better next season than they would be if they kept Fernandez,” while also improving the future outlook. That’s obviously a tall order.
Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill said recently that there was no truth to rumors that the team was interested in considering a trade of the youthful ace. “Not sure where all of that came from,” Hill said. “He sits at the front of our rotation. We are not shopping Jose Fernandez. I don’t know what more I can say. He’s a good pitcher, one of the best in the league, so you’re going to get asked about him. But we are not shopping Jose Fernandez.”
To be fair, there’s a significant difference between “shopping” and “listening” in the baseball lexicon, and the Fish appear to be doing more of the latter than the former. But as Stark indicates, the discussions could suggest that Miami is more amenable to considering a deal than has previously been let on.
MLBTR projects Fernandez to earn just $2.2MM in his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons. That relatively meager sum is the result of his Tommy John surgery, which held him to just 116 1/3 frames over the past two seasons. While the elbow issue remains something of a concern, despite a strong comeback performance, in another sense it enhanced his value by tamping down his earning capacity.
Fernandez has been nothing short of dominant when on the hill, of course. All told, he’s thrown 289 innings of 2.40 ERA ball, with 10.5 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9. There’s little question that he’s one of the game’s most effective starters, with his low cost and youth making him one of the most intriguing assets in baseball.