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Houston Astros: Jose Fernandez a possible fit?

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Could disgruntled Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez be a potential fit for the Houston Astros rotation? 

Oct 1, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When is the last offseason you can remember the Houston Astros being listed as possible landing spot for multiple free agents or potential trade candidates, no matter how unlikely it may be? I can’t recall a time in recent history. Well, you can now add Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez to that growing list.

According to a recent article from ESPN’s David Schoenfield, Houston could be a fit, albeit unlikely, for Fernandez. But the Astros may have the prospects the Marlins may want that could be able to “pry” away the 23-year old pitcher.

Regardless of the negative news surrounding Fernandez lately, the possibility of adding a talented starter to a rotation already headlined by the 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel sure is intriguing.

In fact, Fernandez would help fortify arguably the Astros greatest strength: starting pitching.

Consider this: the Astros rotation ranked eighth in all of major league baseball in total WAR (16.0) and ninth in FIP (3.81). And while that is exceptional considering the dredges from where this franchise came from in recent years, it can always get better. In theory at least.

To preface, I want to state that WAR and FIP are not the be-all, end-all of statistics. You have to examine the whole body of work. But with that said, WAR and FIP are useful indicators to that gauge how much an individual player contributes to the team and their performance. In other words, WAR and FIP are only two of the many colors that can be used to paint the portrait of a pitcher’s work.

Outside of Keuchel (6.1), Collin McHugh (3.8), and Lance McCullers (2.8), the Astros didn’t have one starting pitcher whose WAR exceeded higher than 1.0. Fernandez alone accumulated a WAR of 2.1 in only eleven starts in 64.2 innings. And Fernandez’s FIP of 2.24 in 2015 was lower than any Astros starter, even though he appeared in just one-third of the games that Keuchel pitched.

Of course, the lack of innings pitched is one counter-argument to use. Using Fernandez’s stats from a small sample size in 2015 against pitchers who actually pitched throughout a full season is a bit of a reach. But when taking into account Fernandez’s ability and past history when healthy, one can’t help but wonder if those numbers would be similar during the course of a full season. This would help turn the Astros’ greatest strength into arguably the best of all rotations in the major leagues.

Next: Click to see what trade package it would take to get Fernandez

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