Samson all ears, but no plans to deal Jose
Team president says he doesn't think any club could present good enough offer
MIAMI -- The way the pitching market has played out, the Marlins have been extremely quiet on the trade and free-agent fronts this offseason. Team president David Samson is perfectly fine with that, because the club is not looking to force a deal to acquire starting pitching.
Miami also isn't actively seeking a scenario that results in Jose Fernandez, its 23-year-old ace, being dealt in a potentially blockbuster package.
At the recent Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., roughly 20 teams touched base with the Marlins regarding Fernandez. More speculation arose on Wednesday after the Dodgers acquired additional prospects in their three-way trade that resulted in All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier being moved from the Reds to the White Sox.
The Marlins are not planning to initiate any calls regarding Fernandez, but many are speculating the Dodgers may reach out to Miami.
"As far as what happened in Nashville, it's in a microscope or in a bubble, because the calls for Jose come all during the year also," Samson said. "But it's not written about, because it's not everyone together with media. The Winter Meetings were no different.
"But in order to trade anyone, you want to feel like you're getting better, both now and in the future, and no one presented anything for Jose that would do that. I don't think anyone could."
Samson spoke exclusively to MLB.com on Thursday before taking part in the club's fifth annual Day of Civic Engagement and Philanthropy, a team initiative to give back to the community. The event began in the morning at Marlins Park.
Samson added there are no issues between the Marlins and Fernandez or his agent, Scott Boras.
"It's really far overblown," Samson said. "A couple of things happened that are overblown. The situation with his agent, there is nothing really to talk about.
"Jose is a great superstar, young player, who is coming back from injury [Tommy John surgery], and works as hard, if not harder, than any other player to get himself ready to pitch every five days. He's ready to pitch. He will pitch, and he will have a great year."
Miami's need for starting pitching was magnified by the fact it used 13 starters in 2015. To improve, the club is content with retaining its core position players, while seeking depth in the rotation.
But the price for acquiring pitching, either in free agency or through trades, is extremely high. The Marlins aren't looking to overreact or overpay.
The team intends to contend in 2016, which would be extremely difficult if Fernandez is not at the top of its rotation.
"I guess the only way you would ever remove an ace is if you think you're getting several pieces back that collectively are better," Samson said. "But again, you evaluate that, and it's hard to find. But you'd say that about any player.
"There is no rift with Jose. He wasn't available for trade, but people still came to us, and we were OK with that, because you never know, someone may have an idea that you didn't think of. But it just didn't happen. I don't see it happening."
Some potential free-agent targets are Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, Doug Fister and Kyle Lohse. And Marlins plan to attend the workouts of Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum.
If Miami doesn't end up making any substantive deals, the club appears fine going with Fernandez, Tom Koehler, Jarred Cosart, Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley as its starters.
"Of course we'd like to have pitching depth behind [Fernandez]," Samson said. "You talk about Adam Conley or Justin Nicolino or Jarred Cosart. You're talking about young pitchers, all of whom have tremendous opportunities to be [No.] 2s, 3s and 4s. You need that. There are people who say you can win the World Series with five [No.] 3s. They may be right."