NASHVILLE -- The Miami Marlins have consistently denied reports that they would consider trading their ace, Jose Fernandez. But as the winter meetings got underway Sunday, sources say the Marlins were talking to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and at least two other teams -- about potential blockbuster deals involving Fernandez.
Clubs that have spoken with the Marlins say they’ve put such a high price on Fernandez that any trade would be considered a long shot. An official of one club said the Marlins were asking for as many as five players in return for the 23-year-old right-hander. And another club executive said the Marlins were telling teams they would only consider moving Fernandez if the package in return made them better next season than they would be if they kept Fernandez, as well as putting several young players in place who could solidify their future.
But even that stance indicates Fernandez isn’t as untouchable as the Marlins have suggested publicly. And that has at least opened the door for the Dodgers to explore dealing for Fernandez in the wake of losing Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Indications are that the Diamondbacks are another team that has inquired about Fernandez. Other clubs say that after signing Greinke, Arizona has turned its attention to trading for another starter to pair with him. While the Diamondbacks have also been linked to free-agent starter Mike Leake and others, the Greinke contract has left them with limited dollars to spend. So they’ve looked into trading for a number of young, less pricey starters, including Fernandez.
Few teams, however, would match up better with the Marlins than the Dodgers, who might be willing to include their top pitching prospect, Jose Urias, if it gave them the opportunity to trade for Fernandez, whom they could control for three more years and whose 160 Adjusted ERA-Plus is the best, through his first three seasons, of any starting pitcher in the live-ball era.
“I don’t know if they’ll wind up trading him,” said an executive of one club that spoke with the Marlins. “But if they do, I’m betting that’s where he goes -- to the Dodgers.”