Innings limit for Fernandez to be determined
MIAMI -- The Marlins have initiated preliminary steps in formulating an innings plan for Jose Fernandez in 2016.
Miami officials have already had discussions with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Tommy John surgery on Fernandez on May 16, 2014. At some point, the team, Dr. ElAttrache and Fernandez will come up with a total innings limit. The club also said it doesn't intend to consult directly with agent Scott Boras, who represents Fernandez, about the decision.
"We have reached out to his doctor, and we want to be proactive with Jose and know as we head into Spring Training what our game plan is for him," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said at the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.
With Fernandez, the Marlins are aiming to avoid a situation similar to that of Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, another Boras client. Harvey, who missed all of 2014 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, was the subject of scrutiny over his total innings after comments were made by Boras.
At the GM Meetings on Wednesday, Boras was asked about Fernandez.
"The doctors are going to prescribe a graduated program for him," Boras said. "He threw somewhere in the area of 65-70 innings. Obviously, that will jump to where he's going to go. I think his career high is 170-180. I'm sure we'll have discussions about that in the offseason."
Fernandez's career high for innings is 172 2/3 innings, during his 2013 National League Rookie of the Year Award-winning season. In 2015, however, the hard-throwing right-hander made just 11 starts over 64 2/3 innings. In limited action, Fernandez still was impressive, going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts.
Fernandez is one of three Boras clients on the Marlins. The others are center fielder Marcell Ozuna and right-hander Jarred Cosart, who recently hired the high-profile agent.
Boras on Wednesday made some comments criticizing the way Miami handled the demotion of Ozuna to Triple-A New Orleans in July.
"He's a lifetime .265 hitter, and I can find you 30 players in the Major Leagues that went 1-for-36 sometime in their career and they did not get sent to the Minor Leagues," Boras said. "When you do those things, it sends a message to players, sends a message to the locker room and sends a message to everyone that looks at the organization that there is a calculus going on that is beyond performance."
Team president David Samson responded: "My strong suggestion to Mr. Boras is that instead of resting on his five percent that he collects from his stable of players, he write a check and buy a team. Then he would have the opportunity to run a team that he claims to be so able to do. Until that time, he is in no position to comment how any Major League Baseball team is operated."
Samson added Boras will not be consulted by the Marlins regarding Fernandez.
"He will not be involved in any discussion as it relates to Jose Fernandez," Samson said. "We will be in touch with the doctors and Jose as we formulate a plan."
Fernandez's recovery process is a bit different than others coming back from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old, who made his season debut on July 2, also spent a month on the disabled list with a right biceps strain.
Fernandez experienced discomfort in his shoulder area during a start at Atlanta. After being examined in Miami, it was revealed he has the biceps strain (near his shoulder), so he was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 11. He was reinstated on Sept. 12.
"He's a valuable asset, and we will be protective and do the right thing in consultation with the doctor," Hill said.