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Manso: Will the Marlins really trade Fernandez?

Reports claim Marlins are willing to deal ace during the offseason

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MIAMI – Would the Marlins really trade Jose Fernandez this offseason?

What seemed like a silly question at any point before today, now appears legitimate. That's if you believe two separate reports about Fernandez's future with the team.

The first, by SiriusXM host Craig Mish, indicates that around baseball, and internally within the team, Fernandez is expected to be traded this offseason.

The other report, by WINZ's Andy Slater, backs up that report and goes further by saying the Marlins ace is not happy with the team.

Do I believe it's a possibility? Sure. Anything is possible, especially with the Marlins.

But let's dig deeper to see if this actually makes any sense.

The Marlins have control of the 23-year-old Fernandez through the 2018 season. That's team control for the next three seasons.

Simply put, the team doesn't need to trade Fernandez any time soon, even if they don't think they'll sign him to a long-term deal.

Team president David Samson said recently that Fernandez had turned down a multi-year contract offer, and it's no secret that Samson and the team are in a war of words with Fernandez's agent Scott Boras.

Both have used the media to sling mud at each other over the pitcher's future.

I reached out to Samson about the current Fernandez trade rumors and was given a quick response.

"We do not comment on trade rumors," Samson replied in a text. "Some players are more likely to be traded than others. Jose fits in the latter category. His choice of representation is not relevant to this inquiry. He is a Marlin for at least the next three years and hopefully longer and we look forward to the start of the 2016 season."

While a direct "No!" would have been enough, I found a couple parts of the Samson quote interesting.

First of all, he didn't deny they wouldn't trade him, but then again he said they could trade any player. It's a pretty standard answer from a team representative on any rumor.

Samson bringing up Fernandez's representation, AKA Boras, was interesting to me because I didn't mention Boras in my question. He mentioned Boras on his own, which was certainly intentional. It's Samson's way of saying, Scott Boras will not impact our decision on Jose one way or another.

And I actually agree with him on this 100%. Boras is just doing his job as an agent. But for Samson and the team, the only thing that matters is how they feel about Fernandez. Would they really give him a $200 million long-term contract. which is what he's likely to command?

Remember, this is a team that's very frugal in its finances and already has a player under contract for over $300 million in Giancarlo Stanton.

I've said before, I can't imagine the Marlins would have two players under contract for over $500 million.

That's why I've always felt that the team would likely trade Fernandez at some point in the future. When they signed Stanton, to me, it indicated they were building around him long-term and not Fernandez. They were picking the position player over the pitcher.

But, why have this discussion now? As Samson mentioned, they have Fernandez under team control for another three seasons and they hope to be a legitimate contender during that time.

The only possibilities are that this is Samson's way to push back at Boras and put the ball in his court. Or, and this is certainly possible, as well; the team is ready to move Fernandez while his value is at its highest.

He's a 23-year-old ace fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and you don't need to sign him long-term for a few years. If the Marlins already know they won't give him the money he wants, it's possible they want to get a big haul of prospects and proven players now to rebuild a team that needs a lot of help.

If you move him now then you also remove the potential of him getting hurt again this upcoming season and diminishing his value.

Is that wise? I don't think so. To me, you wait. You ride your ace and most popular player as long as you can.

As much as they're paying Stanton, I still believe Fernandez is the true face of this franchise.

But, these are the Marlins. They don't always think like you and me. And if they really do move Jose Fernandez this offseason, it could be their most controversial and befuddling move just yet.

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