Dodgers Reportedly Pursuing Jose Fernandez


The Dodgers could try to trade for one of the best young pitchers in baseball.

This has been quite a busy first day of the winter meetings, and to no one’s surprise, the Dodgers are at the forefront.

A quick recap of the day, Aroldis Chapman might be a Dodger, or he might be part of a bigger trade involving the Dodgers. Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman were tight-lipped in their media talks, but more than likely Hisashi Iwakuma and Chase Utley are also Dodgers. I wrote about the Iwakuma signing last night here, and Amanda covered Utley here.

Amidst all the speculation, only two transactions have actually been confirmed by the club. They claimed right-handed pitcher Danny Reynolds and outfielder Daniel Fields from the Angels and Brewers, respectively.

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Woo, hot stove o/.

Possibly the most interesting part of today has been the big name on the trade market, that may or may not be available depending on what time you check twitter. Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez, is possibly out there to be had for a trade.

Some Dodger fans are still upset about the Dodgers losing Zack Greinke to Arizona, and this would soften that blow a lot. Fernandez is arguably a top-five or top-ten pitcher in baseball right now and only 23 years old. He had Tommy John in 2014, returned in July for seven starts, missed five weeks and returned for four September/October starts. Even with the injuries, Fernandez allowed three runs or less in 10 of his 11 starts last year and struck out 11 batters per nine innings.

If healthy, Fernandez would possibly be an upgrade over Greinke, not just a suitable replacement. This is his first arbitration year and he won’t hit free agency until 2019, and would be an absolutely phenomenal number two behind Kershaw.

Sep 25, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) tosses his bat after hitting a pop fly during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of Fernandez’s availability seems to be because of the past incompetence of the Marlins and Jeffrey Loria, who has a track record of trading his best players out of nowhere. Obviously, acquiring Fernandez would not be a cheap proposition. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Miami asked the Dodgers for Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Scott Van Slyke for Fernandez.

There is probably one player in baseball I would trade Seager for, and that’s Carlos Correa, who is basically Seager’s Puerto Rican right handed counterpart.

There are a handful of players I would trade Urias for, and Fernandez is one of them. The health is obviously an issue, but the way I see it, Fernandez is the type of pitcher we hope Urias becomes. He’s sort of a best-case scenario for Urias, so why not trade the sure thing for the maybe. Unfortunately, a one-for-one swap won’t get it done. The Dodgers will have to add (not Seager) to the deal, and if they add enough maybe Miami can throw in Marcell Ozuna, who they reportedly want to get rid of because Loria doesn’t like him.

This is where it gets interesting, because in order to keep one of the other two top pitching prospects (Jose De Leon and Grant Holmes, who may or may not be involved in the Chapman trade), they would probably have to add a major league bat.

It’s complete speculation, but a trade around Urias, Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson, Fernandez and Ozuna is probably close to enough to get it done. I’m by no means on the trade Puig bandwagon, mostly because I don’t think the Dodgers should sell low on him. This would not be selling low, as the Dodgers would be getting a very good outfielder and an ace. Plus, it would be a little funny to see Don Mattingly have to manage Puig again.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Miami President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said Fernandez was not available. That sounds like a definite answer, but if front office people remained true to their word no moves would ever be made.

Next: Dodgers In Pursuit of Aroldis Chapman

Overpaying for a player is typically not a smart move, but overpaying for Fernandez (and potentially Ozuna) might be worth it. They’re both cheap, young and extremely talented, and the Dodgers have a deep enough farm to make it work. More likely than not, the Marlins won’t budge from their astronomical asking price and Fernandez won’t move anywhere, but if they do lessen the price, the Dodgers will probably be the strongest contender.

It’ll definitely be something to keep track of as the Winter Meetings progress. There are a ton of moves in the rumor mill and there will likely be a number of moves out of nowhere. This might actually be more fun than the regular season.