Seattle Mariners trade rumors now include Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. While these Mariners trade rumors have more root in fantasy than fiction, it's hard for fans of the team to not get excited about the possibility of Fernandez teaming up with Felix Hernandez. These new rumors stem from a story on ESPN.com about a fourth team entering the race to trade for Hernandez. An updated version of that story states that it could be the Houston Astros, but the team has not confirmed any involvement.
It was back on Monday, December 7 when Miami Marlins team president Michael Hill said that Jose Fernandez is "not available." A report from NBC Sports seemed to confirm that thinking from the Marlins, but it also stated that the team was "making progress" on a trade with an unspecified team. Fans all around Major League Baseball suddenly started posting on social media about acquiring Fernandez, with Seattle Mariners trade rumors also floating around about a blockbuster deal.
Originally, the three teams expressing a lot of interest in Jose Fernandez were the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Each of those teams has a lot of high-level prospects that it could trade in order to improve its starting pitching immediately. After recently signing Zack Greinke to a huge free agent deal, the Diamondbacks could suddenly have a very good starting rotation by adding Fernandez. The Yankees want him to slide in behind Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation, with the Dodgers feeling he could replace Greinke behind Clayton Kershaw.
So could the Seattle Mariners trade rumors have any validity? If the Miami Marlins did end up trading away the ace starting pitcher, the team would want to acquire quite a few top-level prospects. The Mariners already dealt Patrick Kivlehan to acquire Leonys Martin from the Texas Rangers. That leaves outfielder Alex Jackson, first baseman D.J. Peterson, and pitchers Luiz Gohara and Edwin Diaz as the best the organization has to offer. Other potential trade candidates include outfielders Tyler O'Neill, Boog Powell, and Luis Liberato.
In the most recent list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, Jackson was listed at No. 44, making him the only Mariners player even on the list. The LA Dodgers had infielder Corey Seager at No. 2, pitcher Julio Urias at No. 4, pitcher Jose De Leon at No. 23, and second baseman Jose Peraza at No. 24. The highest player from the Arizona Diamondbacks was shortstop Dansby Swanson at No. 10, with the highest player for the New York Yankees listed as outfielder Aaron Judge at No. 17. It seems very clear that the Dodgers could offer the best package of prospects if they want to.
As for the mystery team that is likely not the Seattle Mariners, maybe the Washington Nationals could put together a package of great prospects for Jose Fernandez. The Nationals have pitcher Lucas Giolito ranked No. 3 on the prospect list and shortstop Trea Turner ranked No. 11. It's possible that the team could look to add another ace starting pitcher to team up with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the front of that rotation. It would certainly make more sense than taking prospects from the Mariners.
While new Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to make trades, including the deal previously reported by the Inquisitr with the Boston Red Sox, it would appear that Jose Fernandez is out of his reach. Most teams in Major League Baseball would take a big step forward by acquiring a starting pitcher with a career 2.40 ERA and 1.014 WHIP, but will the Miami Marlins really deal Fernandez? The primary reason could be that he is a Scott Boras client who is guaranteed to hit free agency in three years. Maybe the Seattle Mariners can realistically pursue him at that point.
[Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images]