As the hot stove heats up and we get closer and closer to Christmas the dominos seem to be falling all over the Major Leagues. Teams are slowly making moves that will turn their 2015 rosters into the ones that will take the field in early April of 2016. This first wave of signings was symbolized by the Arizona Diamondbacks of all teams signing Zack Greinke to a six-year deal totalling $206.55 million.
This move is particularly important because Greinke was such an integral part of the Dodgers rotation for the past few years and especially in 2015 where he posted career bests in ERA at 1.66 and FIP at 2.76 while only giving up an 0.84 WHIP and contributing 5.9 fWAR. The Dodgers for all of their purported depth and strength were very reliant on Kershaw and Greinke to anchor their bullpen especially because of injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu who were supposed to be the middle of that rotation last year.
The Dodgers not being able to retain Greinke is undoubtedly the most important move so far this off-season even larger than David Price’s move to anchor the Boston Red Sox rotation. Without Greinke the Dodgers have lost their second best pitcher and arguably the most valuable piece outside of Kershaw.
This is where the Marlins come in.
So far this off-season there has been a steady chorus that the Marlins are either trading, looking trading, “actively listening” and have also made it plain that Jose Fernandez is “unavailable.” It has been to say the least just a little bit confusing. The Marlins ownership and management have been giving people in baseball both the media and the fans incredibly mixed signals regarding what they intend to do with Jose Fernandez this offseason.
The Dodgers need a starter, the Marlins have one: it’s a seemingly perfect match.
But please for the love of god don’t trade Jose Fernandez unless you are going to get a return that actually makes sense. Which is to say that this rumour from earlier this afternoon makes sense. That the Marlins want Corey Seager plus in a trade with the Dodgers.
That would honestly be the only reasonable return for a player of Fernandez’ caliber. A true top prospect and probably more than that. I would also love to get a couple of Major League ready players to pair up with Seager in order to make this a fair return.
This trade makes almost too much sense for it not to happen, the Dodgers are ready to win now and they need someone who could replace Greinke and the Marlins have the worst farm system in baseball and they need as many young players as possible to actually be a feasible organization in the short to medium term.
As I’ve always said the Marlins problem is not necessarily in the Major League roster but definitely in the depth that makes a team viable contenders year in and year out. Sacrificing Jose Fernandez in order to bring some depth into the organization is not the worst possible idea and it could even make sense if they get the right return.
“Corey Seager plus” might seem unrealistic at first glance but at this point it is the only thing that would even make a Jose Fernandez trade close to justifiable.
Just look at the trade that went down between the Braves and the Diamondbacks as I was writing this article. The Braves got Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson for Shelby Miller who doesn’t have close to the same ceiling as Jose Fernandez. In the time he has pitched in the Major Leagues Fernandez has pitched as one of the best players in baseball and is unquestionably one of the most valuable commodities in the game. If Shelby Miller got the Braves that big of a haul. It is entirely possible to think that Jose can bring the Marlins back basically anything they want from the prospect rich Dodgers.
I think a realistic package for the Dodgers to craft to get Fernandez would involve Corey Seager, either Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson, any starter besides their prized possession Julio Urias and probably a couple of lower level prospects. I think that would be fair value and the least I would give up a superstar Tommy John surgery or not.
If the Marlins can swing a trade that would bring this much talent back It would hurt to part with Jose but honestly we have no choice at this point.