No Way Jose Fernandez Isn’t With Miami Marlins In 2017

Jun 5, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) smiles during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) smiles during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

For many clubs, even with a couple weeks left in the season, thoughts are starting to turn towards the 2017 campaign. And while the Miami Marlins themselves have ceded nothing publicly, dropping a home series against a team like the Phillies all but officially places the Fish in the “there’s always next year” column. It’s an unfortunate end for a team that flashed so much promise in the first two-thirds of the season, overcoming so much only to finally succumb when the injury and adversity meter pushed right through inconvenient, and landed on crippling and absurd.

So the rumor mill has started churning for them as well, and as has been the case for every season since 2013, those rumors start with Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.

However, one key thing separates the 2017 speculation from that of seasons past:

It has never been more stupid.

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Specifically, I’m referring to the Nick Cafardo report implying that the reticence of Scott “All About The Benjamins” Boras to talk extension with the Fish could lead to the team actively trying to shop their best player. I understand that the Red Sox have both money and one of the weakest rotations of the top teams competing for a 2016 championship. The Cafardo column is far from the first time that a Boston-based publication has floated Fernandez as a target, as Red Sox Nation and Red Sox writers alike feel he could be the missing piece to a ninth world championship.

Of course he could. He’s the second-best pitcher in baseball, and is significantly younger than the guy who holds down that top slot. Thinking that he’d be worth adding to the Red Sox roster, or that of any club, is not the issue.

The issue is the idea that the Marlins would ever entertain doing something so immensely unpopular heading into the same season that they are trying to drum up anticipation and attendance on account of their hosting the 2017 MLB All-Star Game. To date, they are one of two MLB teams to have never previously hosted the Midsummer Classic, beating out fellow shunned franchise Tampa Bay by five years for the claim of oldest MLB team to have been denied the honor.

The reason it took this long? It certainly wasn’t the location. The city of Miami has hosted four Super Bowls since the Marlins were founded, and a staggering ten overall. That goes along with five collegiate National Championships, and an annual major bowl game in the Orange Bowl. Grant it, for baseball purposes, the facilities available to house the event were subpar until Marlins Park opened in 2012. You need look no further than Tampa Bay to see proof that a new stadium is part of the package if you want to make a convincing case to get the All Star nod.

It’s not just the stadium though, and that’s what tripped the Marlins up. The Marlins, who were awarded the 2000 All-Star Game, lost the game to Atlanta in November of 1998. The official reason was that Turner Field was a brand new park, and that the league was putting a premium on featuring new ballparks. But the timing was suspicious to say the least, as the announcement came right after the first to worst Marlins season that was the product of the complete dismantling of the 1997 World Champions.

Ever since, rightly or wrongly, the team has operated under intense scrutiny from fans and national pundits alike. Even the 2012 selloff that has since been regarded as a steal by the Marlins is still lampooned. When the team gets it right, they lose. When they lose, they’re tarred and feathered.

Consequently, there is no earthly way they are trading Jose Fernandez before July 11, 2017.

Given his record at Marlins Park, a place where he’s lost just twice in his career, he’s a virtual lock to start. Do you honestly believe Jeffrey Loria is going to pass up the chance to have a Marlin start the All Star Game at Marlins Park? To do so would immediately blow up any of the goodwill that hosting the event would garner. As a marquee event, it will be mentioned almost daily. And every mention would bring with it castigation and ridicule, if pieces start getting dealt before the big day. No, Giancarlo Stanton will be on hand to defend his Derby title, before yielding the spotlight to Fernandez the following night. The dynamic duo will be on every piece of promotional material for the event you see, and so long as both are healthy, this will be a financial and PR boon for the franchise.

By the way, those two probably won’t be the only Marlins taking the field this week. There’s two weeks left in the season, and the Fish are still technically in contention. This team will probably post their first winning season since 2009, and they’ll do so with a collection of talent that could very easily have made the playoffs had the injuries to Justin Bour and Giancarlo Stanton not tripped them up in the second half. This is a team much closer to contention than rebuilding, and for all of the reasons covered above, I’d look for additions before subtractions.

Next: Fear The Beard? Please.

Now, if the Marlins are out of it by the Trade Deadline? The front office won’t be able to put Fernandez on a plane fast enough. And given the seller’s market that time of the year is, they won’t be able to charter a plane big enough to bring back all the blue chip prospects they get in return.