With the way Jose Fernandez has re-energized the Miami Marlins and their fanbase of late, the team is unwilling to let go of the magic he provides every time he takes the mound. The team is now exploring ways to allow Fernandez to pitch as deep into September as possible.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can extend him as deep into September as we can,” Redmond said. “This is not an easy decision. He’s pitched so well. We all hoped he would have this kind of success, but I don’t think any of us thought he would pitch as deep into games as he has, which is great.”
At the beginning of the season, the Marlins management set a 170-inning threshold for Fernandez to pitch to for the 2013 season, be it in the minors or in the majors. A few last minute injuries landed Fernandez in the Marlins rotation to start the season, but the team wanted to maintain that 170 inning limit for him.
After his spectacular start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, Fernandez sits just about 25 innings shy of the 170 inning mark. If he averages six innings a start, Fernandez would be right at 169 2/3 innings on September 10th.
One thing Redmond did rule out was a possible six man rotation. Red doesn’t want to throw off the schedule Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez are throwing, especially since both are coming off of injuries to begin the season.
Skipping a start does remain an option for the Marlins, according to Red:
“Could there be a spot in there where maybe we skip a start to pitch him an extra week into September?” Redmond said. “That’s a possibility. The approach, that’s going to be the same as far as the way we use him. I’m not going to cut him out of the game because of the innings. We’re going to let him pitch and when he gets to those innings we’re going to make that decision as an organization.”
I would not be on board with this idea. Skipping a start here and there could be detrimental to Fernandez, as he has built a schedule which he basically feeds off. Throwing him off that schedule could effect him negatively.
If I were the Marlins, I would keep Fernandez on his regular schedule and rest him when he closes in on his 170 inning plateau. There is no need to try and extend Fernandez for what is obviously a lost season. The team would be better off getting a look at some of the young arms in the minors that could factor into the team’s plan in 2014 and beyond.
Redmond was asked what Fernandez will do once the Marlins shut him down, his response was:
“He’s going to be a cheerleader. We’re going to get him some pom-poms. He’s going to drive everybody nuts. He’s going to sit on this bench and drive everybody crazy, and we’re all going to wish he had more innings. That’s exactly what he’s going to do.”
One thing is for sure, whether Fernandez pitches or not, he will enjoy the game of baseball like no one else in the sport. He is one of the more likable players currently in baseball, if not in all sports.