Two off-seasons ago, it seemed the Marlins were confident they would be able to extend starter Jose Fernandez. But now, their perspective has completely changed.
Despite Fernandez's success and how much he claims to enjoy pitching for the Marlins, the Marlins are "pessimistic" about reaching an agreement before Fernandez becomes a free agent, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
The Marlins are pessimistic about keeping Fernandez, 23, long-term and believe he will seek $30 million per year in free agency. As perspective, Stephen Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million deal with Washington last month ($25 million per year), six months before free agency.
In the past, the Marlins have been hesitant to sign pitchers to long-term deals because of the injury risk involved. That is unlikely to change when it comes time to consider re-signing Fernandez.
Miami has two more seasons with Fernandez and it might focus on signing Fernandez to a lengthy deal and subsequently moving Giancarlo Stanton. Dominant arms have proven to be more challenging to find than power hitters.
Regardless of when the two sides begin to talk, the Marlins are unlikely to commit $30 million to Fernandez, who has pitched to a career 2.38 ERA. But if he pitches well the next two seasons, they might have to at least consider it.
Wei-Yin Chen's five-year deal was notable for the Marlins, since it was comparably lengthy. However, it does contain an opt-out clause after the second season.
The Marlins could explore a similar deal for Fernandez, if his agent, Scott Boras, feels it makes sense for his client. Perhaps Miami signs Fernandez to a longer deal with an opt out after the second or third season. Then, the risk is diminished and Fernandez can position himself to receive a more valuable contract.
It isn't took soon to think about another attempt to extend Fernandez, but he and Boras have to be interested first.