Although the baseball postseason is on most people’s mind right now, no one is neglecting the potential signings for next season. The Miami Marlins might try and offload Jose Fernandez before he becomes too expensive. In that case, the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox will be happy to enter a trade with them.
The 24-year old Fernandez is having a terrific season, and along with his agent Scott Boras, is unlikely to enter some sort of extension negotiations with the team during the winter. Fernandez made $2.8 million in 2016, and is eligible for arbitration at the end of the season. He’s under that kind of control until after the 2018 season, when he’s eligible for free agency for the first time. His numbers mean he’ll get a salary boost in any case in 2017, but with the Marlins already on the hook with Giancarlo Stanton for the foreseeable future, they might not be inclined to sign someone who can get $25 million a season, a sum which 7 starting pitchers are making this season.
With the Marlins unable or unwilling to pay that kind of money, they’ll look to trade, and there are number of teams capable of holding more than one player at this price at the same time. There have been talks regarding Fernandez during the previous offseason, but the Marlins never got the offer they liked. With time running out to trade him to a team willing to give him a massive extension (unless Boras convinces him to ride until free agency and risk losing money), the Marlins might suddenly see a deal they like this offseason.
The Cubs are going to pay Jon Lester $27.5 million in 2017, Kyle Hendricks will be hitting arbitration, and Jake Arrieta is going to be before free agency. They’ll probably let go of Jon Lester by that point. Obviously, keeping that kind of rotation is extremely expensive, but the Cubs have the assets and money to pull it off. The Yankees are in a better situation, with C.C. Sabathia no longer on the books by that point, and the only expensive starting pitcher they have right now who’ll be on the Yankees in 2018 is Masahiro Tanaka.
Right now, the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw (hoping he’s healthy) and Scott Kazmir as the expensive pitchers on their roster for the 2018 season, so trading for Fernandez makes sense, especially for a team that loves filling their ranks with quality starting pitchers. The Boston Red Sox will have David Price and Rick Porcello making big money on the mound for the next few years, but have the assets to fit in Fernandez, who is completing his fourth season. He has a 2.99 ERA, making the All-Star game a second time, tossing a career high 174.1 innings. He has 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 1.153 WHIP. He turned 24 in July.