This time of year is as quiet as it gets in terms of actual baseball transactions, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things happening beneath the surface. While postseason play remains the focus for contenders, all teams need to have at least one eye on an offseason that isn’t far away. Internal assessment and planning are obviously an ongoing task, and clubs are constantly engaged one another to see what opportunities may arise.
All that’s a way of setting up this morning’s poll question: as the Marlins enter the final two weeks of play with a .500 record that likely won’t deliver a postseason berth, should they be preparing to shop ace righty Jose Fernandez this winter? Or should they be thinking of ways to ensure that he stays in Miami for the long run?
Fernandez, who just turned 24, is an unquestioned ace. He has fully re-established himself since returning from Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.97 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 over 239 innings since making it back to the bigs last year.
Youth is certainly on Fernandez’s side, and he’s cheaper than he ought to be since the timing of the TJ surgery held down his first-year arbitration earnings ($2.8MM). He’ll command a huge raise on that number, of course, but still won’t be compensated at anything approaching his on-field value. The two remaining years of arb control are immensely valuable. (Remember, the Fish could’ve had another if they hadn’t placed Fernandez on the Opening Day roster back in 2013.)
That makes Fernandez a highly appealing trade candidate entering a winter in which the free agent class is historically sparse. Miami could target high-end young talent to improve a little-regarded farm system, angle for controllable major league pieces, or combine either or both of those targets with a request for some useful, reasonably-priced MLB assets at positions of need.
Of course, the same factors of affordability and performance also make Fernandez a potential extension candidate for the Marlins, who previously managed to lock up Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Dee Gordon. Fernandez’s late-twenties seasons won’t come cheap, but the Stephen Strasburg extension shows that it’s possible to keep a Scott Boras-repped ace so long as the player is motivated.
The question for the Marlins, ultimately, is multi-faceted. Can they win with their current roster, which has had success at times but lacks for starting pitching depth and has needs on the left side of the infield? Would they be better off — in the long-term, but perhaps also even in the short-term — to swap Fernandez out for a huge return of talent? If they want to keep him, can they afford what it might take to keep the Cuban-born star in Miami?
Figuring all that out will require an assessment not only of Fernandez, but also of the broader market situation. Starting pitching figures to be a focal point in trade talks this winter, with teams such as the White Sox (Chris Sale, Jose Quintana), Rays (Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb), and Braves (Julio Teheran) potentially weighing whether to cash in on a pitching-starved market. Fernandez is younger and arguably better (though that’s plenty debatable) than any of those pitchers, and would certainly draw immense interest, meaning Miami at least has to be wondering about the question that you are about to answer (link for mobile app users):
Does hurt to see what you can get but I’m sure it going to take most of someone’s minor league to get him.
Marlins would want doubled what the braves got for Shelby Miller. But you’re right, wouldn’t hurt to see
The Shelby Miller trade might go down as one of the worst trades in baseball history. It should not be used as a starting reference for other trades.
Only if you trade with the idiots running the diamondbacks. Then it’s a good starting point. Lol
It still wouldn’t be enough for Fernandez. It was only laughable because they did it for a #3 starter.
Just Another Fan
I’d see what the offers were, but Miami should be doing everything to add pitching, not get rid of their ace. If anything they should try and trade Yelich for a front line SP and fill LF via FA with Desmond, Rasmus, Cespedes or Raj Davis, depending on how much money they can spend.
Your an idiot if you would trade yelich before him
He plays gold glove defense and is a future mvp on a team friendly deal
No need to insult people, bud.
He can’t help it – he’s a Nats fan. 😉
Just Another Fan
Its fine, homer fans on this site really don’t enjoy my ideas even though they are mostly thought through. I get it, a Nats fan would feel threatened by the Marlins getting better, and keeping Fernandez and trading Yelich for say, Quintana would make them a threat to Nat-land.
I like the Nats though! Its all good….
Trading yelich for Quintana? That’s selling yelich short
There is no need to protect JustAnotherFan as he is the one that has called multiple players, and others on this site losers.
Funny how you call someone an idiot, yet you can’t use the word “you’re” properly! Should we expect anything else from a “Natinals” fan! Poor guys will never live that down haha
Yelich isn’t a future MVP candidate, his SLG% is paltry for a player with his HR totals, guy either hits it over the wall or legs out a single (seriously, that’s 75% of his hits this year) and he won one gold glove two years ago and that’s looking more like a fluke. Yelich looks like he’s going to be a very good player, but barring a anomaly year or him being traded to a market where his “goodness” will be over-hyped by the media, not an MVP level player.
Just Another Fan
Fine, you take Yelich and Conley and I’ll take Cespedes and Quintana – I guess you like losing.
You’re* an idiot.
Beat me to it, Logan. lol
2016: 4.52 road ERA
Career: 4.07 ERA road ERA
Fernandez gives the Marlins THEIR best chance to win; they have no ace outside of him unless they get one or two back in the trade. But it should be buyer beware: he’s pedestrian outside of Marlins Park. Should a team give up their entire farm system for someone who may pitch to a 3.50 ERA next year? The strikeouts are nice, but not when you’re giving up 4 ER in 7 innings in every other start.
A somewhat similar but not equal comparison is Carlos Carrasco. He has a 4.29 ERA at home this year and a 4.58 home ERA in his career. He’s potentially a top 10-15 pitcher if he was more consistent. He too is proficient with the strikeout.
I guess it depends on how much you want to read home/road splits. It gets mentioned often with Rockies hitters and the thin Colorado air, but should it get downplayed with pitchers? Especially when they only pitch once every five days?
It’s tough to see the Marlins being able to afford Fernandez, especially since reports indicate he hasn’t exactly been too high on the organization at times. In order to stay with the Marlins beyond his current contract, Fernandez would likely have to take less than he will be offered by other teams, and that does not seem likely if he isn’t overly thrilled to be with the Marlins in the first place. His feeling about the organization, (if those reports are even accurate), could change before he reaches free agency, but I doubt the Marlins budget will. They splurged on Stanton, so they may do so with Fernandez, but that just makes it less likely that they will field a competitive team around them. It didn’t take long for Stanton to voice his displeasure over the organization’s approach regarding fielding the team after signing that monster contract.
This. The other factor to consider is whether the Marlins have any reasonable expectation of seeing a competitive window opening for them in the next few years. If not it makes little sense for them to extend Fernandez and more for them to take the substantial trade return on his next two years.
They would be stupid not to trade him because they are the third best team in their division and they could ask for MLB ready players or AAA prospects that could have an impact. 4 starters can have a bigger impact than one star player
Me thinks BOS would actually part with some of their prized prospects for Jose. BOS would be insane not to trade away Jackie Bradley along with some of their prospects possibly including Kopech and more. If they get close (but no cigar) this year, it’ll be an interesting offseason, especially seeing how they’re going to fill in that DH spot. That being said, they have the stuff to win it. I never thought I’d see Porcello win 21 games…
Rumors did come out the Sox FO would only move JBJ for a frontline ace and Fernandez fits the bill, JBJ has 2 more years of team control, both Boras clients might make some kind of difference as to whether or not boston is inclined to include the 105mp throwing Kopech however, who sat 98-100 and 103-105 several times in his 1st few games back this season and not much less than that (sitting) afterwards as a 20YO.
They might be more inclined to include something the marlins will be needing both now and in the future anyway.. A 3b with Prado walking.. Rafael Devers. Both preseason and mid season top 20 BA with power and decent glove., all of 20YO.
Devers is anything but decent with the glove, it’s actually a pretty ugly sight to watch him pay defense. I’m talking Hanley in left field bad.
Rafael Devers just won the Red Sox minor league defensive player of the year award.
It will take way more than JBJ to get Fernandez. Do the Marlins maybe teach Stanton to play 1B?
I couldn’t care less about a team award (seriously, they once gave the award to Blake Swihart), watch him play. He’s stiff, rigid, and has poor range. He has a good arm though, so he can make the plays IF he can get to the ball. Pretty big if though.
Just saying I’m pretty sure it takes a little more than “anything but decent with the glove” as you put it, or “Hanley in left” type of defence to win the organizations top defensive player of the year award.
With Boras as his agent do not expect anything less than $25 million a year. Can the Marlins afford a 8/200 contract? Probably not. Put him on the trading block to see if a team will over pay for him. The good thing is he has 2 years left so you can wait for the best deal.
Not to worry… The Angels will don a 1-for-1 trade and give up Trout for Fernandez…
Just Another Fan
I keep worrying that the Yankees prospect hype train is going to spiral into them somehow getting Trout. All those guys they got this year might be close to getting him.
I’m a Yankee fan and I surely hope that doesn’t happen
I think everyone foresees them being semi-patient and signing Harper to the largest contract ever in 2018
Something tells me that a major league front office would see right through a prospect hype train…
As soon as you trade a guy like Fernandez you’re trying to replace him again. It would obviously take a franchise altering package but will anyone have the ceiling/upside he’s achieved thus far? Doubtful
baseball requires a lot of players on a team to be good in order to win…so while you may never find a guy to achieve what Fernandez has, you may find 2 or 3 that together surpass him.
This is actually pretty similar to the White Sox. They have a few stars and then a bunch of scrubs, with neither the farm system or budget to upgrade at all the necessary positions.
The answer is always yes, do whatever’s so necessary to allow a player to escape from that organization.
I hate that impressive talents are stuck playing for that garbage owner with absurd and shady ways.
Free Fernandez. Free Yelich. Free Ozuna.
I’d say free Stanton but I kind of hope Loria is stuck paying the full, incredibly back-loaded $325 million contract that he expected to go away.
Yes, please give Theo a phone call. I would love to see Fernandez in a Cubs uniform! I believe only 5 teams could make this happen (Cubs, Astros, BoSox, Indians and Dodgers). No way he stays with the Marlins after arbitration years are done in my opinion.
That’s a terrible trade
Yeah I’m a Sox fan and that so called trade for Stanton, and Fernandez falls under the term fleecing… Yeah that thing that the braves did to the snakes
I don’t know who would say no first, but I can see both of them saying it. Miami would be giving up their major league team, and Boston would be giving up top prospects while taking on two huge salarys. Bucholz likely will be bought out anyways, so his inclusion won’t do anything
Buchholtz is pitching well enough to earn his option picked up next year and as far as pitching goes 13 mil is cheap when your looking at some of the other pitching cost around baseball
Don’t forget to include Lavarnway. I think he cinches the deal.
That package doesn’t get you Jose or Giancarlo.
I think the Astros could really use someone like him. But with how expensive starting pitchers are I have trouble seeing them give up that much minor league value. I suspect most teams that want Aces are going to try and develop from within. He will likely reach free agency and walk, or be traded at the deadline in his last year of arbitration, unless the QO is still a thing then, then I see him being traded at the beginning of his last Arbitration year or mid way through next season. Mind you this is all void if the Marlins start winning. If that happens he’s going to stay and be their Ace.
I see a deal at the trade deadline
Sure, as long as he’s traded to my team
Don’t the marlins control Fernandez for three more season after this? I thought he was a free agent after the 2019 season? If so why not ask for the moon!
Before the 2019 season. He has two arbitration seasons left under team control, 2017 and 2018.
No, two more. A consequence of their decision to take him north out of camp rather than make him wait for 2 weeks.
I mean, kudos for playing it straight, I guess, but that came at the cost of his age-26 season.
Braves can use an ace and they have plenty of minor league stock to trade.
But I thought they had an ace in Julio Teheran!!!
Haha yeah that’s the guy that the Braves fans on here wanted Moncada and Bentideni plus the kitchen sink for…. He is not a Fernandez by any stretch of the imagination
For 2 seasons of Fernandez? Unlikely the Braves would consider paying the extreme prospect price in that scenario. Maybe if Fernandez looked like the key to them making a deep playoff run. They’re nowhere near that point.
I could see the Yankees making a strong play to land Fernandez. I’m guessing the Marlins ask for Gary Sanchez, the Yankees say no, and then a package of Aaron Judge plus others is what could get it done.