The Marlins are “under the impression” that Jose Fernandez’s representation will be seeking $30MM per year when the pitcher hits the open market, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The Marlins have no intention of meeting that number and, therefore, they have made peace with the fact that they will not retain him past 2018. Of course, the Marlins could also trade the young hurler before the 2018/19 offseason and get something in return rather than lose him for nothing.
Monetary problems aside, there are also some issues between Fernandez and team management. For starters, a friend of Fernandez tells Jackson that the pitcher was bothered by the team’s trades last summer. The Marlins made a number of deals in July, including trades that shipped out notables like Sam Dyson, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, and Steve Cishek.
Fernandez was also bothered by the removal of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, who has since been replaced by Juan Nieves, according to the friend. On the whole, the source close to Fernandez contends that ex-Marlins player Jeff Baker soured Fernandez – and other players – on the Marlins’ front office.
A Fernandez trade could bring back a significant haul of prospects for the Marlins, but the Wei-Yin Chen signing this winter would indicate that the Marlins are hoping to contend in the immediate future. Chen’s five-year, $80MM deal includes an opt-out after two seasons, giving the Marlins a strong rotation arm to pair with Fernandez for the next two years at least. Then again, a Fernandez trade could bring back a mix of prospects and MLB-ready talent, so the Marlins wouldn’t necessarily be signing up for a rebuild if they moved him.
Fernandez won NL Rookie of the Year in 2013 when he pitched to a 2.19 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across 28 starts. Since then, Fernandez has made a combined 19 big league starts, pitching to a 2.71 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 between 2014 and 2015.