Yesterday, we discussed the news that the Miami Marlins would soon be shutting down rookie ace Jose Fernandez on a team-imposed 170-inning limit. But it sounds as though the Marlins would like to have some of their cake and eat it too, as Joe Frisaro reported yesterday that Miami would like to stretch out Fernandez's starts through September without encroaching on his innings limit.
"We're working on where we could push him back a few days, and see if we can extend him," manager Mike Redmond said. "We're trying to figure out how we can extend him as deep into September as we can."
On the surface, this sounds like great news for Marlins fans who would like to see more of Fernandez. Then again, the truth is that the team will not see more of him in 2013, even if the Fish accomplish a plan to keep him working through September. The Marlins still want him to adhere to a limit of around 170 innings, meaning Miami will not give him any more starts in 2013 than he was already going to get. Fernandez would still get about four more starts at most (given the team's target of seven innings per outing), but the difference is in the distribution of those four or so starts.
The Marlins would like to split those starts further out. They could pull this off by utilizing a six-man rotation, for example. The team would have enough interesting talent to do this if they wanted by September. The Fish have Brian Flynn dominating Triple-A with a 3.00 ERA and 3.14 FIP in 21 starts and 126 innings. They could employ Flynn in September in order to move Fernandez a day back on each block and keep him until the middle of the month.
But Fernandez is likely to make two starts this month as it is. He is pretty much guaranteed to make his start on August 24 against the Colorado Rockies. However, the team does have an off day immediately on August 26. The Fish could skip Fernandez and start Turner on normal rest without having Fernandez throw for the remainder of August. That would give Fernandez about three starts left heading into a September 4 matchup against the Chicago Cubs or a September 6 game against the Washington Nationals.
If the Fish go every six days for Fernandez after September 6, Fernandez would make a September 12 start against the Atlanta Braves at home and a road start versus the Philadelphia Phillies on either September 16 or 17 (depending on how the team handles an upcoming double-header).
Oddly enough, despite what the Marlins are saying, Redmond seems unlikely to go with a six-man rotation to accommodate stretching Fernandez's year.
With a young staff, the Marlins also discussed internally the possibility of a six-man rotation. However, that is unlikely, Redmond said. One alternative is having Fernandez skip a start. He's scheduled to start on Saturday against the Rockies.
Without a six-man rotation and a skipped start, Fernandez should not be getting past at best September 12 before hitting his limit. If the team is adamant on trying to get this done, they would have to work out a lot of options in order to make it happen. It seems like a lot of work and meddling for very little gain for the Fish and Fernandez.
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- Marlins news: Jose Fernandez close to reaching innings limit