According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, sources (plural) with rival baseball clubs believe the Astros are the mystery team alluded to in the possible trade market for Miami Marlins' ace Jose Fernandez.
Sources: Mystery team making "very strong" bid for Jose Fernandez. Other clubs believe it's the Astros. More soon at https://t.co/gtnhE81RUu— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 8, 2015
The right-handed Fernandez burst on the scene at age 20 in 2013, pitching 173 innings for the fish, with a 2.19 ERA bolstered by a 2.73 FIP and 3.08 xFIP. He recorded 187 strikeouts in those frames, and walked a paltry-for-a-rookie 58 batters.
Since then, Fernandez has missed the major portions of the 2014 and 2015 seasons with Tommy John Surgery to correct a torn elbow ligament, followed by another extended DL stint due to bicep strains.
Fernandez' injury history coupled with dominant performances calls to mind shades of Mark Prior, but also early woes of Stephen Strasburg.
The Astros have been noted to not take risks with pitchers with sketchy arms, so if a deal is indeed struck, it would certainly be contingent on Fernandez passing a rigorous physical.
A Houston trade for Fernandez would likely include some of your favorite players - established high-quality major leaguers with years of team control remaining, plus top-tier denizens of the Astros' vaunted farm system.
The Astros have history trading successfully with Miami, having dealt SP Jarred Cosart, OF Austin Wates, and UTIL Kiké Hernandez in 2013 in exchange for CF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran, SP Francis Martes, and the draft pick that resulted in OF Daz Cameron.