The Hot Stove is at it again, overheating and spewing hot burning chunks of leather and pine tar all over the room. A SiriusXM radio host out of Miami is saying that there's a possibility the Miami Marlins intend to trade ace starter Jose Fernandez. (Yes, that Jose Fernandez.) The guy who is only 23 years old and who in less than two full years of pitching has already racked up 289 innings pitched, with a career 2.40 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 1.014 FIP, and 10.5 K/9 rate. You start searching for pitchers who put up the kind of numbers that Fernandez posted in his age-21 season, and you get two candidates: Vida Blue and Dwight Gooden. (Yes, that Dwight Gooden.)
Oh, and he's also under team control until 2019.
But hang on, hold your chaw, this isn't a confirmed rumor by any stretch. We're talking about a sports radio host's opinion here, and he's talking generically about "growing sentiment":
Growing sentiment around Baseball and internally with the @marlins is Jose Fernandez will be traded this offseason.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) November 17, 2015
Probably you'd want to grab a salt shaker containing the opinion of an actual MLB team reporter with inside connections and use that to season the rumor heavily:
Two highly placed sources tell me Jose Fernandez is not being shopped or discussed to be shopped. Will that changes, who knows? #Marlins— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) November 17, 2015
Sounds like a baseless rumor, but I'm going to latch onto that final, shruggy "who knows?" and suck the juice right out of it, and you're going to do the same thing -- you know why? Because we're living in the aching emptiness of a baseball-free abyss, and baseless rumors are the nectar of the gods. It's how we survive until spring training.
I have a question for you, but first, I have to take you back in time to 2007, to a time when this same Marlins franchise decided to trade a 24-year-old named Miguel Cabrera. (Seriously, Marlins, do you just not enjoy awesome young players?)
Grant Brisbee, staff writer for SB Nation's San Francisco Giants blog, McCovey Chronicles, wrote a post back in 2012 that revisited all of the rumors surrounding that trade. The point of the history lesson is, essentially, don't hold onto prospects when you've got a once in a lifetime trade in front of you. Let's look at some of the highlights, so we can laugh out loud ("LOL") at how foolish these other teams were:
- The Cardinals were interested in Miggy, but didn't want to let go of Colby Rasmus
- The Yankees wanted to protect Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy
- The White Sox were on the fence about giving up Josh Fields, Gio Gonzalez, and Jon Garland
- The Indians got pretty clutchy about Asdrubal Cabrera
- The Dodgers escape our hindsight-fueled scrutiny by refusing to let go of Clayton Kershaw, but they're the exception
So here's that question I promised: if indeed the Marlins smoke a giant bong full of "who knows?" and decide to trade Jose Fernandez, who wouldn't you give up to get him? That's not a rhetorical question, actually, because there's one important factor to consider. Like Fernandez, Caberera had played for three seasons when he hit the trade market. Like Fernandez, Cabrera was young. Unlike Fernandez, however, Cabrera -- as Brisbee points out -- had "missed a total of 13 games" in those three seasons. That's it.
Fernandez, by contrast, pitched in eight games in 2014 before being knocked out by season-ending Tommy John surgery. He made a triumphant return in 2015, but not until July 2, and even then he only pitched in seven games before missing another month on the disabled list, due to shoulder soreness that turned out to be a biceps strain.
Red flags? Maybe. For an ace starter just getting his career rolling, you'd like to see more than 116 combined innings in a two-year stretch.
Or maybe not, because he is just a kid, and his body is young, and he doesn't worry -- like I do -- about accidentally injuring his rotator cuff while lying motionless and simply trying to sleep through the night.
So who in the current Tigers system would you jealously protect in a potential trade for Jose Fernandez? If the Marlins wanted Daniel Norris, Michael Fulmer, Christin Stewart, and Nick Castellanos, would you balk? If they wanted Joe Jiminez, Matt Boyd, Luis Cessa, and Jose Iglesias, would you tell them to take a hike?
What is Jose Fernandez worth to you?