The Miami Marlins should not extend Jose Fernandez. At least not right now.
At 23, Fernandez has proven to be an ace and type of pitcher baseball franchises build around. While he thrived in his rookie campaign, he has yet to prove he can remain healthy since. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro notes that extending Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria remains atop the list of the Marlins' offseason goals. The club should remain patient when it comes to Fernandez.
Fernandez successfully recovered from Tommy John surgery and made seven starts this season, posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.71 FIP over 43.0 innings. But he is currently on the disabled list again, this time with a right biceps strain, and is hoping to pitch again this season. The Marlins, however, might ultimately opt to shut him down.
In a solid rookie season that earned him National League Rookie of The Year honors, Fernandez posted a 2.19 ERA and 2.73 FIP over 172.2 innings and 28 starts. He followed that up with 51.2 innings and a 2.44 ERA last season before undergoing the season-ending procedure.
Throughout the course of his career, Fernandez has thrown a notable amount of breaking balls and that might be resulting in frequent injuries. 57.3 percent of Fernandez's pitches in 2013 were fastballs, according to FanGraphs. That mark decreased to 52.2 percent last season before slightly increasing to 54.1 percent in 2015. Fernandez is known for his plus slider and curveball. But he could be throwing each too often.
Before the Marlins even consider signing Fernandez to an extension, they should wait to determine if he is completely healthy. The club reportedly discussed a potential deal with his agent, Scott Boras, at the end of last season. However, Boras prefers to allow his clients to test the free agent market instead of signing through arbitration and free agency years.
Fernandez is likely to go through at least one year of arbitration because he has not proven to be durable over the last few seasons. The Marlins have not been fond of signing pitcher to extensive contracts in the past and that is not likely to change for Fernandez. A deal might be agreed upon, but it likely would only lock Fernandez up for the next few seasons.
First, it was the Tommy John surgery. Currently, it is a shoulder and biceps injury. While Fernandez has proven to be dominant when healthy, there is no indication he will thrive moving forward. As a club hoping to compete in the seasons to come, the Marlins need stability within their rotation. If Fernandez cannot remain healthy, the club should consider other alternatives.
If Fernandez is able to make a few more starts before the end of the season, the Marlins could again discuss the possibility of an extension this winter. But until Fernandez becomes consistent once again, the Marlins should not be in a hurry to extend him.