Miami will almost certainly trade Jose Fernandez if it is not in contention before the non-waiver trade deadline, according to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.
Why this rumor makes sense
All off-season, Fernandez was mentioned in trade rumors. The Marlins insisted he was not going to be traded and they kept to their word.
When the Marlins open their season in April, Fernandez will be their Opening Day starter. He is the ace of their rotation and anchors the pitching staff. But if the Marlins are not in contention this summer, it is reasonable to believe Fernandez will be moved.
The Marlins have reportedly made multiple contract extension offers to Fernandez, who has yet to accept a new deal. A lot of that likely has to do with the fact he is represented by Scott Boras, who often encourages his clients to test the free agent market.
If the Marlins are not competing for, at the very least a Wild Card spot, Fernandez will likely again be mentioned in trade rumors. As Morosi notes, the return will be greater if Fernandez is with a club for the later part of three seasons than if he is moved after two.
Although they might keep trying to get Fernandez extended, the Marlins very likely have a plan. They should receive something in exchange for Fernandez before losing him to free agency.
Even clubs not competing in 2016 will likely emerge as landing spots for Fernandez. There is interest and the Marlins are in a position to take advantage.
Why this rumor does not make sense
Fernandez is still under club control and if traded would leave the Marlins with limited options to replace him.
If Fernandez is moved, Wei-Yin Chen would become the team's ace. His contract contains an opt-out clause after the second season, and if exercises it, Miami will lose its top two starters.
Since Giancarlo Stanton only has a number of seasons until his opt-out can be exercised, the Marlins appear to be in "win now" mode. They had a quiet but productive off-season and are in a position to compete in 2016.
Losing Fernandez would leave the Marlins' rotation is a rough spot. Moving him next winter might be more plausible.
Likeliness overall: 5/10
Miami is in a position to compete. But if they don't, it is reasonable to believe Fernandez rumors will be widely discussed again.