In a new interview with Craig Mish on the Swings and Mishes podcast, agent Scott Boras opens up about the late Marlins ace José Fernández. Tuesday marks the two-year anniversary of JDF’s tragic death in a boating accident.
The Marlins made Fernández their first-round pick (No. 14 overall) in the 2011 MLB draft. Boras became his representative after the 2012 season while he was still a minor leaguer.
The two of them had a very close relationship, and the Fernández family had so much trust in Boras that José’s mother, Maritza, urged him to speak at the funeral.
Boras describes the difficulty of finding the right words to eulogize his All-Star client:
“The process of trying to illustrate to everyone who [Fernández] really was—his spirit, his passion, his love for his community, his teammates, everyone involved—it was very hard to form because you kept thinking about the last time you talked with him, the last moments you spent with him, the absolute hilarity of his sense of humor, the confidence that he had on the mound, his innate ability to understand how to pitch to particular hitters, all the joy that you shared with him...You just really wanted to try to communicate a voice that was his, a message that was his to really illustrate what he was about.”
Though sports agents are often stereotyped as heartless and greedy, Boras showed true vulnerability in his emotional address:
Boras recalled the three “most proud moments” of JDF’s life: buying his mother a house, becoming a U.S. citizen and learning he’d be a father for the first time.
“Greatness is a blessing, it’s a true blessing,” Boras said, “but it’s also an extraordinarily heavy burden. Greatness creates a feeling of invincibility, particularly to a young man, empowering with evidence of a skill on a daily basis.”
The interview with Mish continued with several “what if” questions about Fernández and the Marlins. After the 2016 season, he would’ve had two years remaining under club control.
Due to reach free agency at age 26, Boras believes Fernández was destined to become “one of the highest-paid players in baseball, if not the highest-paid pitcher.” He notes the unique combination youth and dominance.
Longtime Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria took the loss very personally, Mish says, and might have held onto the franchise if Fernández hadn’t died. Boras declined to speculate about that, but admitted that the talented core of Fernández, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, etc. represented a “great start” to a potential contender.