Miami has made it clear the priority this offseason is to sign Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal. But Stanton is no longer the only Marlin that the organization wants to lock up. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins have also started discussing long-term contracts with Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Sources: #Marlins have opened long-term talks with Fernandez, Yelich, Hechavarria. Nothing close; Fernandez, repped by Boras, a longshot.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 10, 2014
#Marlins' motivation not simply to impress Stanton, with whom they also are talking. Idea is to build club that can sustain success.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 10, 2014
Miami is looking to become consistent, but rarely discussed the possibility of locking up other young players. The approach will likely payoff, and should the Marlins extend all three, the organization will have one of the best young cores in all of baseball to build around.
Fernandez is coming off of Tommy John surgery and is not expected to return until next June or July. However, generally, pitchers who have had the surgery have returned just as efficient if not more productive than before. Fernandez was named the National League's Rookie of The Year in 2013, and finished third in the Cy Young voting.
Fernandez is controlled through 2018, although now that he’s missed a season with injury, the Marlins’ decision to have him break camp in 2013 looks even more questionable; Miami could’ve secured another year of team control by leaving him in the minors for just three weeks or so. Of course, if an extension is worked out, that will be a relatively moot point (though still puzzling, in principle).
In 51.2 innings last season, Fernandez posted a 4-2 record and a 2.44 ERA to complement a 2.18 FIP. In his rookie season, Fernandez posted a 2.44 ERA and 2.18 FIP in 172.2 innings pitched.
Although the Marlins have started the process, Rosenthal notes that extending Fernandez now would be challenging because he is represented by Scott Boras. Boras tends to advise his clients to test the free agent market.
Yelich had a breakout year in left field, and is only going to be 23 in about a month. He posted a .284/.362/.402 batting line to complement nine home runs and 54 RBIs as Miami's leadoff hitter. Yelich posted a 4.3 WAR according to FanGraphs, and won the National League Gold Glove Award in left field. He is controlled through 2019 and isn't arbitration eligible for another two seasons, so while the Marlins want to get deals done, they shouldn't be in a rush to sign Yelich.
Miami's desire to extend Hechavarria is notable because of his improved offensive numbers. In 2014, he posted a .276/.308/.356 line and drove in 34 runs. Hechavarria is yet to establish himself as a consistent home run hitter, however with his speed, it may not be necessary. His defensive situation varies depending on the statistics used to determine it, although many metrics list him as average to below average, at best. A Hechavarria extension may not be as lengthy as any others because of organizational doubts.
The Marlins want to lock up several of their top play makers in addition to extending Stanton, which proves the organization is dedicated to winning moving forward. Getting Stanton signed will likely precede other deals, but monitoring other extension talks will be interesting this offseason.