Marlins starter Jose Fernandez couldn’t finish the sixth inning on Wednesday against the Tigers, yielding five runs on five hits and a walk. It was a tough day, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia took him for a two-run home run in the second inning, and the Tigers got three hits before chasing Fernandez from the game in the sixth. Reliever Dustin McGowan allowed two of his inherited runners to score, charged to Fernandez.
It was still a very dominant afternoon for Fernandez, however, as 13 of the 17 outs he recorded on Wednesday came via the strikeout. He had everything working, getting Justin Upton to strikeout three times while Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera each fanned twice.
This is a great sign for the Marlins, as Fernandez made only 11 starts last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, then suffering a strained biceps. The Marlins are expected to limit Fernandez’s innings this season, similar to the way the Mets handled Matt Harvey — who also had Tommy John surgery — last year.
The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.
Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.
Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.
For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.
Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.
But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.