Jose Fernandez continues to draw a notable amount of interest. While that much is clear, clubs that have checked on his availability reportedly have been concerned with the number of innings he will throw in 2016, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Adding to the degree of difficulty: The question of how many innings Fernandez will pitch in 2016 and beyond.
"Makes it hard to price it correctly for both sides," one source with knowledge of the talks says.
After returning from Tommy John surgery in June and later being placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, Fernandez was able to make a few starts before the end of the season. The Marlins have publicly noted they would set an innings limit for Fernandez heading into 2016 following his history of injuries.
Fernandez tossed 172.2 innings as a rookie in 2013 and logged 51.2 innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014. He was able to toss 64.2 innings last season, although with the amount of time he spent on the disabled list, an innings limit in the future might be inevitable.
Since Fernandez has not been completely healthy since the year of his debut, the concern is notable. The best option for the Marlins, depending on how hesitant interested clubs are, could be to wait and not trade Fernandez until the summer. At that point, Fernandez would have made numerous starts and indicated whether or not he is completely healthy.
While his health is being questioned, Fernandez has proven to be durable. When the Marlins could have opted to shut him down after the shoulder injury, he asked to take the mound again before the end of the season and ultimately did so and had success.
Whether it be the Marlins or another club, Fernandez's team will likely have to work with Fernandez's agent, Scott Boras, to determine an effective innings limit. After the Marlins noted they did not want to have Boras involved in the discussions, Fernandez said Boras was his agent and would be involved as a result.
Rosenthal also points out the package the Braves received in the Shelby Miller trade "heightened the Marlins' expectations for a Fernandez deal." Throughout the Winter Meetings, the Marlins were reportedly seeking five or six major league ready players. Based on the Miller deal, that could prove to be realistic.
The Marlins are likely waiting for a club to overpay for Fernandez, and a team such as the Dodgers, with adequate minor league depth, might do just that. However, since Fernandez is still arbitration eligible for three more seasons, he could be retained.
Miami's asking price is reportedly high, and the concern over how many innings Fernandez will be able to throw will likely make it more challenging to move him. For a club willing to take a risk, Fernandez might still be a fit.