When the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year deal, they deemed him one of the faces of the franchise. Jose Fernandez, then and now, was the other.
Miami attempted to sign Fernandez to a long-term deal shortly after extending Stanton, but Fernandez reportedly declined the offers. He is a Scott Boras client, and Boras is known for encouraging his clients to test the free agent market.
Boras and the Marlins are not thought to have a great relationship, although that might have changed when they agreed to sign Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year deal during the off-season.
Fernandez has had a notable amount of success to this point in 2016, pitching to a 2.29 ERA and 1.95 FIP over 74.2 innings, while Stanton has posted strikeout numbers expected of a power hitter. Stanton is batting a mere .197 with 12 home runs this season, though.
With Stanton already locked up and Fernandez declining multiple Marlins offers, the club could have a decision to make, as explained by Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
Are the Marlins better off trying to re-sign Fernandez (a free agent after 2018) and instead trade Stanton, who is a year-and-half into a 13-year, $325 million contract (opt out after six) and due $25 million, $25 million and $26 million in 2018 through 2020?
The Marlins have made it clear they are not fond of extending pitchers because of the injury risk involved. However, if Fernandez continues to thrive even after coming off of Tommy John surgery, he might prove to be more valuable than Stanton.
Stanton can opt out after the seventh year of his deal, but the Marlins will have already made the decision with regard to keeping one at that point. Moving Stanton could increase the likelihood of the Marlins making Fernandez a competitive offer.
If Fernandez continues to thrive and enjoys pitching in Miami (which according to Jackson he does), he might prove to be more valuable than Stanton, one of the game's top power hitters likely having an off start to the season.