Trade package it would take to get Fernandez
Oct 1, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) points to the stands at the end of the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
With all that said, I am not sold on the idea that the Astros should trade for Jose Fernandez. Yes, while it would be intriguing to add him to an already deep rotation, there are other factors to consider besides his ability to pitch well.
The first area of concern is the quality and quantity of prospects it would take to convince Miami’s front office to trade him to Houston. Fernandez is under contract through 2018, and this puts the Marlins in the driver seat when it comes to potential trades. The Miami front office could easily say that we want Prospects A, B, C, and so on down the list. And this would likely turn into the Astros needing to offer a combination of multiple top prospects (Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Kyle Tucker, Michael Feliz to name a few) for the Marlins to even consider a trade offer. If they aren’t included then the trade won’t happen, simple as that. And without the “right” offer, the Marlins front office isn’t, and shouldn’t be, in any hurry to trade their star pitcher…yet.
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The next area of concern is the perceived issues in the Marlins clubhouse about Fernandez as a malcontent. If this is true, then that could disrupt the chemistry that the Astros have going for them if the team does indeed acquire the right-hander. And while winning masks numerous chemistry issues the possibility of harder times, foreseen or unforeseen, then any issues of Fernandez could come to a head in a hurry.
And that could make future contract negotiations troublesome, especially when considering that Fernandez’s current agent is none other than Scott Boras. It is a well-known that Boras usually advises his clients not to take an extension before they reach the free agent market. This allows teams to get into a bidding war for Fernandez’s services. Regardless who trades for the talented right-hander, it is a forgone conclusion that a healthy Fernandez will more than likely not sign a contract extension before he hits the open market after the 2018 season.
The last area of hesitancy for this Astros blogger is the injury history of Fernandez. He has already had Tommy John surgery and dealt with a biceps injury after his return in 2015. And while Tommy John surgery isn’t the same career-altering type of surgery that it was in the past, it continues to instill concern. After all, the possibility exists that Fernandez could turn out to be an injury-prone pitcher. Again, this is just speculation. In fact, he is only 23-years old and may not experience another significant injury for the remainder of his career. But he will need to be fully healthy in 2016 to help dispel any worrisome speculation.
All in all, when considering the factors in play for a Fernandez-to-Astros trade to become a reality, the perceived risks seem to outweigh the benefits. While the short-term boost is appealing, the Astros may be better off developing their own talent in their pursuit of long-term success. In essence, to acquire primarily Fernandez, the Astros front office would have to trade multiple top or highly regarded prospects to the Marlins for just three seasons of pitching services. Unless the Astros open up the pocketbook in three years, it is unlikely that Fernandez stays in Houston for the long haul anyway.
But, hey, trade rumors are always fun to talk about. And you never know for sure how things will shake out when in fact crazier things have happened before in baseball.
**Statistics are provided by Fangraphs.com**
**Contract information is provided by Spotrac.com**