The Miami Marlins keep drifting between competitiveness and building for the future, in some constant state of rebuild. With one of the best young pitchers in baseball, Jose Fernandez, they’re undecided about keeping him and competing for his signing once he turns into a free agent, or try to get the most out of him via trade.
Fernandez, 23, is 22-9 since 2013 in 47 starts with a 2.40 ERA, 1.014 WHIP and a very impressive 3.95 Strikeout-to-Walks ratio, including 5.64 last season. He’ll be making $2.8 million next season and by the time he becomes a free agent (2018-2019 offseason winter) he might be looking for a contract paying him $30 million a season. Bryce Harper keeps getting mentioned as the first $400 million player, so it won’t be surprising to see Fernandez ask for that kind of money.
The thing about Fernandez is that it’s hard to believe the Marlins, even with three full seasons to go through before he hits free agency, aren’t going to pay him that kind of money, at least by sources from within the ballclub. Fernandez himself isn’t too hot on everything going on in Miami, with rumors suggesting that the July trades of players like Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Sam Dyson and Michael Morse, combined with ex-Marlins player Jeff Baker trashing the front office, has made up his mind: He’s not staying in Miami.
So once again comes the decision about the timing of trading Fernandez (a lot can change in three seasons, both in his sentiment towards the ball club, the owner’s willingness to spend and injuries, especially with pitchers) and what the Marlins will be trying to get out of it: Competitiveness or another rebuild process, which seems to be a constant state in South Beach Baseball.
Fernandez is good enough to raw more than just prospects. The Marlins can get ready talent with him, obviously depending on when the Marlins pull the trigger on the trade. But as we get closer to the beginning of the 2016 season, it’s getting a bit clearer regarding his situation, and it would be a safe bet to assume he’s not going to play for the Marlins for more than the next two or maybe three years. Don’t be surprised if it all ends sooner.