Jordan Zimmermann busted through the 2015 free-agent logjam Sunday when he inked a five-year pact with the Detroit Tigers. Now, the offseason’s deep pool of pitchers can (and will) flow in his wake.

But there are two ostensibly available arms who should tread water. Or, more accurately, their teams should.

We’re talking about the New York Mets‘ Matt Harvey and the Miami MarlinsJose Fernandez. Neither is due to rock the open market until 2019, but both have been the subject of trade rumors that understandably put the baseball world on high alert.

They’re two of the top young right-handers in the game, after all, bursting with velocity and pure, nasty stuff. And with Fernandez just 23 years old and Harvey 26, both may get better—a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat thought for opposing hitters.

Yet the Mets could choose to move Harvey from a crowded rotation that features fellow burgeoning studs Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, with Zack Wheeler set to return at some point next season from Tommy John surgery.

New York needs a bat, at least, with free agents Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy possibly about to walk, and Harvey could likely fetch one from a club with holes in its rotation.

As for Fernandez, his name began churning through the rumor mill in earnest on Nov. 17 when SiriusXM host Craig Mish reported there’s “growing sentiment” the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year will be dealt this offseason.

The rumor came with whispers about a growing rift between Fernandez and the Marlins brass, which CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry outlined:

With regard to Fernandez, he’s reportedly already rebuffed one attempt to sign him to a long-term extension, and there’s been hints of tension between Fernandez and the Marlins over a post-Tommy John workload plan. It doesn’t help matters that Fernandez is represented by Scott Boras, and the Marlins’ high command doesn’t much care for the super-agent.

So perhaps the fear that Fernandez isn’t open to signing an extension coupled with some personal animus for his agent has prompted the Marlins to shop their franchise hurler.

“I have heard something,” Fernandez said of the trade scuttlebutt, per’s Joe Frisaro. “I’m not paying attention to it at all.”

Perhaps not. But everyone else is, as they are with Harvey. If either player were to be moved, it’d immediately shift the balance of power somewhere.

Again, though, both the Mets and Marlins would be wise to hang on to their rising-star assets, at least for one more year.

The argument is simple, and it centers on supply and demand. Even with Zimmermann off the board, clubs in search of pitching have a buffet of appetizing options.

There’s David Price and Zack Greinke, the Cy Young Award runners-up in each league. After that, you’ve got strong No. 2 and No. 3 candidates like Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake and Wei-Yin Chen plus high-upside reclamation projects like Jeff Samardzija.

Next year’s pitching class, by contrast, is a veritable wasteland after right-hander Stephen Strasburg (himself a subject of persistent trade speculation). Here, compare the lists of MLB’s 2015-16 free agents to the projected 2016-17 crop, per MLB Trade Rumors. Pretty striking disparity, right?

By holding back and making Harvey and Fernandez available next winter, the Mets and Marlins would be able to demand absolutely insane packages of top prospects and big league talent and would almost certainly get it from someone.

The Mets could shore up their offense, and Miami could get, well, whatever it’s looking for at the time. You just never know with the perpetually rebuilding/retooling/floundering Fish.

Of course, there is an inherent risk. Injuries can strike at any time, diminishing value. In fact, they already have struck: Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2013, and Fernandez had the procedure in May 2014.

In a way, though, that’s another argument for pumping the brakes on any trade. Fernandez started just 11 games last year, his first season back from TJ. And while he teased with 79 strikeouts and a 2.92 ERA in 64.2 innings, a full campaign of ace-like dominance would assuage any concerns about his durability.

Speaking of which, Harvey just weathered a controversy about his supposedly doctor-imposed innings limit to toss more than 200 frames between the regular season and playoffs for the NL champion Mets. If he can do it againand replicate or improve upon his 2.71 ERA and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings—he’ll officially have put the Tommy John talk to bed.

Surely, there are many in Mets and Marlins land who don’t want their teams to trade Harvey and Fernandez now or later. These are guys you can build a franchise around, and they’re a joy to watch every fifth day.

But even if you support flipping these young aces, patience is the operative word. There will come a time when a Harvey and/or Fernandez deal makes sense. That time isn’t now.


All statistics and contract information current as of Nov. 30 and courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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