I have a special affection for South Florida. My grandparents moved to Ft. Lauderdale in the early 1970’s and we would visit them, often taking a week or ten days in February. After my grandfather passed away, we would go sometimes during Christmas and even braved a few days in the Spring or Summer there. My grandmother has since passed but the condo still remains and is in our family’s name. This explains why I like keeping tabs on the teams in the area, particularly the Miami Marlins. It also may explain why that, in the middle of the crucial series between the Yankees and Orioles, I decided to spend a good portion of time watching an almost meaningless Marlins-Braves contest. I say “almost” because the Fish have two of the most exciting players in all of baseball on their squad: Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton.
The main reason why I had that game on last week is because it was the final start of the year for the 21-year old Fernandez. If you didn’t hear about it, there was alot of other fireworks surrounding the game that involved the young right-hander. Nevertheless, Fernandez is someone special to watch. His fastball tops out at 98, which he was throwing in the seventh inning. There is also this breaking ball that looks as though it breaks five feet in about a tenth of a second. I know there will be considerable debate on whether he or Yasiel Puig will win Rookie of the Year in the National League. I won’t have a problem if either wins. That being said, here are Fernandez’s numbers: 12-6, 2.18 ERA in 28 starts, in 172 1/3 innings. Here are even more impressive stats: 187 strikeouts, 111 hits allowed and 58 walks. His 5.8 hits allowed and 9.7 K’s per nine innings is tops in the NL. Incredible.
It is hard to believe that Stanton is only 25 years old. Earlier this season, he became the ninth fastest player to reach 100 career home runs. Although he didn’t play in a game until June, Stanton leads the Marlins in both home runs and RBI’s. On this team, the fact that he has even had opportunities to get a pitch to hit is amazing. In 2012, he led the National League in slugging at .608 and was second in home runs with 37. Unfortunately, because of where he plays, Stanton is forever the subject of trade rumors. Management insists he is not on the block but given their track record, can you really trust them?
If the Miami Marlins insist that they are committed to South Florida, they should sign Fernandez and Stanton to long-term deals before they are close to hitting free agency. Stanton is under club control until 2017, Fernandez, 2019. While the organization was killed when they made trades to dismantle their team, right now, those trades don’t seem to be so bad. They received some nice pitchers in return which are forming the foundation of a nice rotation. If the team sells off Fernandez and Stanton with no real attempt at keeping them long-term, then Major League Baseball needs to invoke its best interest of baseball clause and take the team away from Jeffrey Loria.