Where does Sandy Alcantara fit into Marlins top 5 pitching deals?

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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(Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Alex Fernandez: 5 years, $35 million

This time, there’s no avoiding putting a Marlins World Series winner on the list.

For one season, Alex Fernandez was a force to be reckoned with. The No. 2 option on a formidable rotation that carried Florida to its first winning season, first postseason, and first championship. He looked to be worth every penny of his five-year, $35 million deal, as he racked up the second highest innings total on the team with 222 innings pitched.

Unfortunately, those 220 innings in the first year of his contract were more than he’d pitch in the next four years combined.

Starting with a rotator cuff injury in that 1997 postseason, Fernandez battled arm issues the rest of his Marlins career. Two of those next four seasons he didn’t pitch at all, and in only one of them did he look anything like his former self. Ultimately, he retired with a year left on his deal.

Now, obviously teams can’t see the future or predict injuries. And if you assume that the Marlins don’t make the playoffs in 1997 without him, it’s hard to cast stones at this signing.

That being said, there are some concerning similarities between then and now. Fernandez had logged a lot of innings by the end of the 1996 season. Indeed, it was part of his appeal. He was a reliable innings eater with a reputation for going deep into games and being available every fifth day to take his turn in the rotation.

Sort of sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Verdict? Flags fly forever, but those Fernandez dollars really would have helped this small market team in later years. It’s likely only the fact that the Marlins spent 1998 and 1999 totally tanking anyway that keeps this contract from being much more lamented.

As if that isn’t murky enough…