The Marlins have consistently been trying to extend Jose Fernandez. But if that does not happen, Fernandez's representatives believe he will receive a notably large deal in the coming years.
Fernandez's representation thinks he could earn up to $30 million annually once he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
Miami first attempted to sign Fernandez to a long-term deal while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he was quick to reject the offer. Fernandez is a Scott Boras client, and Boras is known to encourage his players to test the free agent market and sign extensive contracts.
Although it did not appear as if the Marlins had a great relationship with Boras after the way the club handled the Marcell Ozuna situation last season, the relationship might be improving. Miami signed free agent lefty Wei-Yin Chen, another Boras client, to a five-year deal this winter. Boras now represents three of the Marlins' top starting pitchers.
Fernandez, who suffered a shoulder injury after returning last season, is expected to be healthy heading into 2016. After declining what is thought to be multiple extension offers, Fernandez settled on a $2.8 million salary for this season through arbitration.
After Chen's introductory press conference, Boras said he felt Fernandez's 2016 salary is ideal for both the young starter and the Marlins since Fernandez only tossed 64.2 innings for the Marlins last season. When asked about the possibility of an extension, Boras said "you're asking everyone a lot and there was a lot of speculation."
While the Marlins do not appear any closer to extending Fernandez, the organization did not trade him despite a notable amount of interest from clubs seeking pitching depth this winter. If the organization struggles throughout 2016, there is a good chance he is traded next off-season. If the Marlins are thriving with Fernandez anchoring their rotation, he might not be moved until after 2017 or before the 2018 All-Star break.
Jackson points out the Marlins "are resigned to losing him eventually," and losing Fernandez might prove to be inevitable. Rarely do the Marlins pursue big name free agent starting pitchers and that is exactly what Fernandez would be.
Miami is also not known to overpay for starters, and it is highly unlikely the organization will pay Fernandez $30 million, or anything close to it, annually.
The Marlins love having Fernandez start every fifth day. But in a few seasons, he might not be on their staff.