Every person who makes it to the pros in a professional sports league in their respective sport is obviously very good at what they do even if they aren't the best at the highest level. Each league has players that stand out over the rest of the competition that make them marketable on a global audience.

The NHL has the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Conor McDavid, the NBA has a bunch of generational talents in LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Giannis Antetokounmpo among others, the NFL has Tom Brady and Peyton Manning while the MLB has Babe Ruth, Mike Trout and a select amount of others as well. One baseball player that was very well on his way to becoming a once in a lifetime type player was Jose Fernandez.

Fernandez's career was cut short as on September 25, 2016, Jose Fernandez along with two others died in a boating accident as Fernandez's boat Kaught Looking (with a backwards K) crashed into a jetty which caused the boat to overturn and all bodies were ejected from the boat upon the crash.

Fernandez had a bright career ahead of him that could have pushed him into the conversation of all-time great pitchers. With the Marlins being a turmoil of a team for the past several years, it was unlikely Fernandez would have spent his whole career in Miami. If Fernandez was made available on the trade block, he would have fetched a huge return for the Marlins and would have gotten a ton of money in free agency when he was to become a free agent.

Jose Fernandez as a trade chip

Despite the Marlins wanting to keep Fernandez around just as any team would want to keep a player of Fernandez's calibre, the front office felt like once he was set to hit free agency, he wouldn't have stayed in Miami. They shopped him around multiple times but ultimately were unable to find a trade partner.

One trade that came close to happening involving Fernandez was him heading to the desert to play for the Diamondbacks which would have taken place during the 2015-16 offseason. The trade would have been Fernandez for Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and Brandon Drury. In 2015, Corbin went 6-5 with a 3.60 E.R.A.

across 16 starts with an opponent average of .272 in 85 innings. Corbin didn't turn out to be a top of the rotation pitcher until his contract year in 2018. He ended up signing a six-year, $140 million with the Nationals. Pollock had a good 2015 campaign where he slashed .315/.367/.498 with 192 hits, 20 HR and 39 SB. He only appeared in 12 games the next season as he suffered an injury during spring training and has been hit with injuries multiple times in his career. Pollock was also a free agent last offseason and signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers. Drury was the Diamondbacks fifth-best prospect who showed promise when he first got to the major leagues but has struggled since.

He's currently a member of the Blue Jays. The trade didn't go through because the Diamondbacks owner didn't want to part ways with Corbin, Pollock and Drury but this trade ended up benefiting the Marlins more as none of those three guys would have contributed much on the Marlins.

According to Dodgers Way, during the 2014-15 offseason, the Marlins talked to the Dodgers about Fernandez. The deal would have been Jose Fernandez for Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Joc Pederson and two other prospects. Seager was considered the second-best prospect in all of baseball in 2015 and was named NL Rookie of the Year in 2016. Urias was considered the fourth-best prospect in all of baseball in 2015 and has yet to live up to the hype but many were expecting him to take a step forward in 2020.

Pederson is never one to post a good batting average but had an OBP of .346 with 26 HR in 2015. The Dodgers declined this offer as it was too much for them to give up but this would have been a much better offer for the Marlins compared to the offer they had from the Diamondbacks.

If Fernandez ever got traded, it would have been to a team that's a contender, that was in need of pitching and would be able to afford him financially in the long term. The Marlins would also need a huge package of prospects in order to part ways with Fernandez. One team that fits the criteria was the Red Sox. Perhaps instead of getting Chris Sale, they could have used the package of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz to get Fernandez.

While injured, Fernandez was younger and was better at preventing runs than Sale was.

The Rangers were another team that could have used an elite starting pitcher. The Rangers could have enticed the Marlins with an offer of one of Nomar Mazara or Lewis Brinson along with Dillon Tate, Jose Leclerc and another player or two. If the Rangers got Fernandez, they could have very well got past the Blue Jays in the ALDS both in 2015 and 2016.

Whatever team he was traded to, an ideal package for Fernandez would have been two or three top prospects, another minor league player or two that has potential to reach and be a solid contributor at the majors and perhaps a young major league player with experience.

That would have been a strong return for the Marlins if they ended up trading Fernandez.

Jose Fernandez in free agency

If that boating accident never occurred, Fernandez would have been a free agent after the 2018 season. He would have been the most coveted free agent pitcher on the market and possibly the most coveted player in free agency even with the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado being available.

While both Harper and Machado had to wait into spring training to get signed, they both got paid handsomely as Machado got $300 million and Harper got $30 million more. Fernandez is a pitcher though and it's a lot harder to find elite starting pitching than it is to find top tier hitters.

While Fernandez may have had to wait a while to get paid, he would have gotten his money from some team that had money to spend.

If Fernandez was still alive, there's no doubt he would have been made the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, both in total value and average annual value. In the 2015-16 offseason, Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks. In 2015 with the Dodgers, Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 E.R.A. striking out 200 batters compared to 148 hits with an opponent average of .187 in 222 2/3 innings pitched at the age of 32. In the same offseason, David Price signed a seven-year, $217 million deal with the Red Sox. The season before split between the Tigers and Jays, Price went 18-5 with a 2.45 E.R.A.

with 225 strikeouts over 190 hits given up for an opponent average of .230 in 220 1/3 innings pitched at the age of 30.

If Fernandez were to enter free agency in 2018, he would have been 26 years old. With Fernandez being that young and in the middle of his prime, many teams would be more than willing to pay up in order to get his services. In his young career that lasted 76 starts, he went 38-17 with a 2.58 E.R.A. with 589 strikeouts over 357 hits with an opponent average of .209. Over a whole season, he would have averages of 17-8 with a 2.58 E.R.A. with 264 strikeouts over 160 hits with an opponent average that hovers around .206. At the time of his death, he had the highest strikeout percentage in MLB history with a strikeout percentage of 31.2 percent and still has the highest strikeout percentage in MLB history today.

As Fernandez would have been in high demand, he could have started a bidding war among teams wanting his services. The logical destinations for Fernandez would have been the Yankees and Dodgers as both teams are historic franchises, are annual contenders and are flush with cash. Other teams can't be counted out though. The Phillies could have gone after Fernandez instead of Harper and handed him that $330 million to pitch in the city of Brotherly Love. The Angels are another team that could have pursued Fernandez and be a realistic landing spot for him. They haven't shied away from handing out large contracts to players that deserve them and have been in dire need of pitching for years. While unlikely, the Jays could have maybe attempted to bring Fernandez north of the border.

They apparently showed interest in signing Harper and offered Gerrit Cole a $300 million deal this offseason. Other teams that would be able to afford Fernandez and would attempt to sign him would be the Astros, Braves, Rangers, Nationals, Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Padres.

In baseball, in order to reach the major leagues, majority of players spend a couple years in the minors to develop and craft their skill. While most don't reach the majors at all, the top prospects usually debut in the major leagues at the age of 22 or 23 with some making their debuts later. There are some players who are that good who have made their major league debut before they turned 21. Here are some of those players and how much money they will get for the duration of their contract:

Mike Trout- $426.5 million Bryce Harper- $330 million Ronald Acuna Jr- $100 million

Other players that made their MLB debut before the age of 21 are Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Fernando Tatis Jr, Mike Soroka, Rafael Devers, Carlos Correa and a few others.

From the names mentioned, all should receive a hefty contract once they reach free agency or an extension if they keep up their performance.

As roughly half the league would be in want of his talent and entering free agency at the young age of 26, he would have been able to get a boatload of money. I'm no agent or general manager nor am I a negotiation expert but Fernandez probably could have gotten something within the lines of $325 million or more over 8-12 years. Whatever his contract would be, he would have gotten a deal where he would have been the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history in total value and average annual value.

Follow the page MLB
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!