Perhaps the shock of the Winter Meetings for the Marlins was the number of calls they received about the availability of Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez, 23, is entering his first year of arbitration and has arguably been Miami's ace since his major league debut in 2013. With Fernandez being so young, talented, and controllable, why would the Fish even entertain such phone calls if they are looking to ADD to their roster?
The answer to that question is the state of the starting pitching market right now. Free agents David Price and Zack Greinke both signed for over $200 million, and Jeff Samardzija earned a $100 million payday. With such high prices for these types of players, teams were looking to obtain high-end starters through trades, and a lot was being offered in Nashville.
The Arizona Diamondbacks seemed to be very interested in Jose Fernandez but, with the Marlins primarily wanting to keep their ace and build a playoff team, they set the asking price high. They were asking for at least five of Arizona's most talented young players, and a deal could have materialized if the D-Backs hadn't agreed to deal for Shelby Miller. With that sort of possible return, you can understand why the organization was at least listening to propositions.
One reason for all of these inquiries was the recent fallout between the Marlins and Fernandez's agent, Scott Boras. This will make it extremely difficult to sign Fernandez to an extension, which means the Fish probably won't be able to build for the future with the Cuban star. However, he is vital to the team's success right now.
As the final day of the meetings came to an end, so did the rumors. The Marlins, obviously not blown away by any offer they received, have said that Jose Fernandez will not be traded before the start of the 2016 season.
Going into the meetings, it was believed that the Marlins were looking to find starting pitching and a trade partner for Marcell Ozuna. While it may have been possible to address the pitching needs with a Fernandez trade, there was little talk on moving Ozuna.
The two parties came to blows earlier in the year regarding Ozuna's demotion to Triple-A after a poor start to the campaign. Before 2015, the Marlins viewed Ozuna as it's center fielder of the future, but extension talks ground to a halt in the off-season. Add that to a regression in production this past season, as well as the dispute, and the Marlins may have felt a trade would be for the best. Pretty much all of the Marlins' time at the Winter Meetings was taken up by Jose Fernandez talk, though, so any move regarding Ozuna was not fully explored, according to Jayson Stark:
Hearing that the Marlins have back-burnered Marcell Ozuna trade talks. Still listening but more likely they keep him than trade him.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 9, 2015
The fact the Marlins have been quiet may not be a bad thing. A Fernandez trade could have greatly benefited the team, but most likely not in the near future, and the Marlins want to contend now. Additionally, Ozuna may have more to give to this team despite a mediocre 2015 campaign. The Marlins do need pitching, and possibly a power bat at first base, but it is still early in the off-season.