The Miami Marlins had a gem in Jose Fernandez, who despite a brief career in the Majors, is the team’s best right-handed starter of all time.
I ask the question because how the team was ripped apart at the seams once it was sold to Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman, trading off key pieces to the franchise’s puzzle. Would there still have been a roster that included Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna?
Would Jeter and team president of baseball operations Michael Hill look to add more chess pieces to potentially make a playoff run sooner rather than later?
These are the things that go through my mind from time to time, wondering if the death of one of MLB’s great talents began what was the ultimate sale of the organization and with it the change in culture from potential contender to perennial pretender the past two seasons.
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In a game where statistics matter more than any other sport, Fernandez quickly established himself as an ace over the course of four seasons with the Miami Marlins. And at age 23, before his untimely death, he may have been the best young right-hander in the game.
It was a cinch to think the Cuban-born star would be part of the discussion as the Miami Marlins greatest right-handed pitcher of all time. MLB.com confirmed it as the website honored the greatest righty of all time on each team.
Fernandez was the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star.
"“It’s hard to mention the name José Fernández without wondering what might have been. A two-time All-Star by the age of 24, Fernandez was killed in a boating accident on Sept. 25, 2016,” the story by MLB.com’s staff explains. “In his brief but brilliant four-year MLB career with the Marlins, Fernandez was often masterful. His pitching arsenal was electric, and he performed with great emotion and energy.”"
Known for his power on the mound and boyish smile that was ever-present in the dugout, Fernandez was everything that baseball is supposed to be. Tragically, it was taken away all too fast at the end of the 2016 season with the Marlins fighting for a playoff berth for the first time since 2009.
"“There was just joy with him when he played,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said at the time of Fernández’s death. “When he pitched, I think that’s what the guys would say, too. As mad as he would make you with some of the stuff he’d do, you’d see that little kid you see when you watch kids play Little League or something like that. That’s the joy that José played with and the passion he felt about playing.”"
Fernandez was dominant from the moment he stepped on the mound in his MLB debut but was almost a sure thing pitching at home. For his career at Marlins Park, he posted a 29-2 record with a 1.49 ERA in only 42 career starts.