The Marlins keep insisting that Jose Fernandez is “not available.”
But sources are indicating otherwise.
According to a major-league source, the Marlins discussed a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which they would have given up Fernandez for a five-player haul that included pitcher Patrick Corbin and top shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson — last year’s overall No. 1 draft pick.
The Marlins would have also received outfielder Ender Inciarate, pitcher Aaron Blair and infielder Brandon Drury in the proposed blockbuster. But the deal collapsed Tuesday when the Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Shelby Miller from the Braves.
With the Diamondbacks out of the hunt, the Los Angeles Dodgers could make a stronger push to acquire Fernandez. The Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, have been linked to the Marlins in trade rumors involving Fernandez.
All of it suggests the Marlins aren’t as reluctant about dealing Fernandez as they’re letting on.
For the second straight day Tuesday, Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill told reporters the pitcher was “not available,” and that the same message was being delivered to teams asking about him.
“You try to say he’s not available,” Hill said. “But that doesn’t stop teams from asking.”
Hill said 15 to 20 teams have called asking about the pitcher. Only four have been identified: the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Giants.
Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart acknowledged Tuesday he had spoken to the Marlins about Fernandez and intended to do so again. But that was before the Diamondbacks acquired Miller.
And Foxsports.com reported that the Dodgers are trying to involve another team in a possible three-way deal to land Fernandez.
Hill said many of the calls are from teams who don’t want to be left out of the Fernandez sweepstakes if the Marlins are open to trading him.
“People don’t want to feel like they miss out, so [when] they think they’re missing out on something, I tell them, ‘You’re not missing out on anything,’ ” he said. “But that still doesn’t stop the phone calls and the time to explain what’s actually going on.”
Clearly, even if the Marlins say Fernandez isn’t available, they’re listening.
Buy sources said the Marlins would have to be “overwhelmed” with an offer — an overpay — they couldn’t refuse.
“Everybody is available,” Marlins president David Samson said. “But some are less likely than others. He’s very unlikely. It would take something where our entire room would say, ‘Whoa, I would do that.’ ”
What would the Marlins require in return for Fernandez?
“There is a decent bet there would be front-line pitching, plus other stuff coming back,” Samson said.
Just like the deal the Marlins were discussing with the Diamondbacks.
Although Hill said he has told teams that Fernandez isn’t available, he’s not delivering the same message about outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Sources said seven to 10 teams have asked about Ozuna.
“We’re listening,” Hill said of trade proposals involving Ozuna.
The Marlins would be open to dealing Ozuna for starting pitching.
FENCES MOVING IN
It’s official. They’re moving the fences in at Marlins Park.
Samson confirmed the re-configuration Tuesday, saying the fences are being moved in and shortened, pending permit approval.
“It’s going to have a very cool look to it,” Samson said. “The people it will impact the most are [Christian] Yelich and [Giancarlo] Stanton on the defensive side. On the offensive side, it remains to be seen.”
Samson said the fences will be moved in 10 feet “at most” from the curve of the Home Run Sculpture to the entrance of the Marlins’ bullpen in right field.
“That’ll move when we’re all dead,” Samson said of the sculpture.
Samson said in some parts, primarily in left and right field, the fences will “be as low as me” — or 5-feet-5 inches.
“It’ll be interesting to see what it means psychologically,” Samson said. “That’s the one thing we can’t measure.”