Should Marlins make run at Samardzija?
LOS ANGELES — You don’t just replace Jose Fernandez. The 21-year-old is too talented, and possesses too many intangibles. His energy and competitiveness are contagious.
Every aspect of Fernandez will be missed now that he is on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain. Every indication is the young ace will be out for an extended period. Surgery remains a very real possibility.
Losing Fernandez, obviously, is a crushing blow that has rocked the Marlins’ foundation.
What the Marlins can do now that Fernandez is out is make every effort to remain in the National League East race. While, on paper, the Braves and Nationals have the makings to run away with the division, neither club has. And like Miami, both those clubs have flaws.
If the Marlins think they can still be a surprise club in 2014, they should give every consideration to making a blockbuster trade. Think big. And there is a big arm that could be had for a hefty price.
Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs is a target for a number of teams in contention. Perhaps the Marlins should join the list.
The Marlins have some attractive arms in their system that could be dangled. Save parting with Andrew Heaney, their No. 1 prospect, Miami would be wise to weigh what the Cubs would be asking.
Obviously, the Marlins don’t want to thin out their Minor League pitching, but consider this: They have the No. 2 pick in the June 5 First-Year Player Draft. They are leaning towards taking a pitcher.
The main reason the Marlins shouldn’t throw in the towel on 2014 is the fact that they are 20-19, and still two games out in the division.
Even without Fernandez, the Marlins have four strong starters. Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler each have upside.
Heaney could be arriving in a matter of weeks. Anthony DeSclafani also may be arriving soon. Both are very good.
The Marlins feel they’ve put together a club that has the nucleus to make some noise in the division. Granted, they are still young. But if the team is serious about reaching the next level, what better sign to the clubhouse and a skeptical fan base than doing something big?
Samardzija is an ace. The 29-year-old also would be more than a rental. He’s affordable at $5.35 million, and he isn’t on the brink of becoming a free agent.
Yes, the Marlins could bring up Heaney and hope he lives up to expectations. The lefty is immensely talented. But it wouldn’t be fair to ask him to save the season.
Samardzija could save the season.
This is a sensitive time for the Marlins. If they let the season slip away now, what will that mean to the long-term futures of Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek?
Stanton is playing at an MVP level. He is ready to win. He is focused on winning. Even during this four-game losing streak, he’s kept producing, as he takes a career-high 14-game hitting streak into Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
Cishek has been one of the most dependable closers in the game.
Both of them have two more arbitration years left. But if the plan is to wait til next year, how much sense does it make to waste their high-end seasons?
Then you have a veteran like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is signed for three years to provide leadership. Saltalamacchia is entering his prime. He isn’t here to spend two years to develop the young talent.
The front office makes it clear they are looking to get through Wednesday, and find someone who can start in place of Fernandez in the series finale with the Dodgaers. After that, all options are on the table.
Will exploring ways to acquire Samardzija be one of them?
— Joe Frisaro