Jose Fernandez’s representatives at the Boras Corporation believe that their client can receive upwards of $30MM annually upon reaching the open market following the completion of the 2018 season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. As such, the Marlins feel “resigned to losing him eventually,” though that doesn’t mean they’ll trade him anytime soon. Fernandez remains affordable and excellent for the time being, and the Marlins could hang onto him until July 2018 and still receive a sizable return in a trade. If the 2016 is “an unmitigated disaster,” Jackson speculates, the timeline for a possible Fernandez trade could be accelerated, possibly making him available next winter. From my vantage point, it seems clear that the Marlins’ hope is to contend in 2016 and 2017 at the very least, as evidenced by their signing of Wei-Yin Chen and the inclusion of a two-year opt-out in his deal. Of course, if Chen opts out of that contract post-2017 (which is certainly not a guarantee) and the team looks to be facing an uphill battle toward contention, trading Fernandez could serve as a means of quickly accelerating their rebuild. Fernandez is, after all, the type of coveted talent for which teams will pay in the form of MLB-ready talent.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- ESPN’s Mark Simon cautions Mets fans to temper their expectations for Yoenis Cespedes in 2016. While he went on an otherworldly hot streak early with the Mets, a good chunk of that damage was done on the road against weak Rockies and Phillies pitching staffs. Additionally, Cespedes’ career averages prior to 2016 were considerably lesser than his averages this past year, and it’s not reasonable to expect him to maintain his peak-level performance, especially not with the minor injuries he sustained late in the year. Simon notes the projections at Fangraphs boosted the Mets’ win total by two after signing Cespedes. While some will argue that not to be a large enough differentiation, the point Simon seeks to get across is not a specific number of wins which Cespedes will provide but rather that the difference probably won’t be as striking as it was upon his acquisition last July.
- MLB.com’s Mark Bowman conducted a Q&A with Braves GM John Coppolella, during which Coppolella discussed a number of the moves made in the offseason. Coppolella told Bowman that the biggest surprises of the offseason, to him, were the trades of Andrelton Simmons and Shelby Miller. “We didn’t want to trade either player, but we also felt that the talent we received back in those deals made it too good to pass up those opportunities,” said Coppolella. Additionally, the GM discussed the importance of stockpiling young talent in light of the “hyperinflation” of the free-agent market, noting that this offseason illustrated clearly that most teams cannot simply buy a considerable amount of talent in free agency.
- Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, one of five pitchers sent from the Astros to the Phillies in the Ken Giles trade, tells CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury that the call notifying him of the trade was a “great moment.” Oberholtzer, a Delaware native and lifelong Phillies fan, spoke highly of his time in the Astros and Braves organizations but expressed clear excitement to be joining the team he grew up watching both on TV and in person. In examining Oberholtzer’s place on the roster, Salisbury notes that the lefty is out of minor league options, thus making him a near lock for the 25-man roster. However, with Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff all set in the rotation, Oberholtzer will compete with former Astros teammate Vincent Velasquez (also a part of the Giles swap) for the final rotation spot. Oberholtzer tells Salisbury that he’s versatile and can pitch in either a relief or starting role, but the rotation is his preference.