The relationship between pitcher Jose Fernandez and the Marlins is tenuous, as we learned last month in a report by Miami radio show host Andy Slater. The Marlins have taken issue with the right-hander’s attitude towards ownership and the involvement of agent Scott Boras as Fernandez makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. Boras is hopeful to put Fernandez on a similar pitch limit as Matt Harvey‘s with the Mets.
Slater also reported that Fernandez’s teammates were openly rooting for the young Cuban pitcher to fail at the expense of the team. Dan Haren, who pitched for the Marlins through July before being traded and retiring at season’s end, and current teammate Tom Koehler refuted that notion as Scott Miller details at Bleacher Report:
“No way,” Haren told Bleacher Report. “No way. A lot of those things in [Slater’s] article were actually right. But at least from a pitcher’s standpoint, there’s no way anybody was on the bench rooting for Jose to get hit.”
Haren then extended that to include position players as well.
“There’s no way,” he said. “You can be frustrated with a person on and off the field, but I would say there are very few instances [where it reaches that point]. There are people I hate, too. People I don’t get along with, and who don’t like me. But I find it hard to believe in a team sport like baseball, where you need the guy to your left and right to succeed, that people are rooting against someone.”
Marlins starter Tom Koehler echoed Haren.
“That’s ridiculous,” Koehler told Bleacher Report. “Why would you want your teammate to do poorly? It reflects on everybody. You play to win. If you root for your best pitcher to lose? It doesn’t make sense.”
Fernandez, 23, is under team control through 2018 before becoming eligible for free agency. He earned $651,000 in 2015 but will get progressively more expensive, which will be a major factor in the Marlins’ decision to eventually move him. Though he has made only 47 starts over his first three seasons in the majors, Fernandez owns a stellar 2.40 ERA with 336 strikeouts and 85 walks over 289 innings.
The Dodgers were the team most recently linked to the Marlins in trade rumors, but they were only in the discussions phase as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier this week. The Giants and Diamondbacks also had interest before making other pitching acquisitions.