Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would like to lock up stars like young ace Jose Fernandez. (USATSI)
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would like long-term deals for young stars like ace Jose Fernandez. (USATSI)

Fresh off their record $325 million, 13-year extension with superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have made a six-year guaranteed offer said to be worth close to $40 million to ace pitcher Jose Fernandez. There's still believed to be a lot of work to do, if in fact there's any realistic chance at all, to lock up Fernandez.

In their effort to keep their better young players, the Marlins also have made long-term offers to outfielder Christian Yelich and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, and they're due to make an offer early this week to outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps their chances to extend one or more of those fine players is somewhat better than it is with Fernandez, who thus far hasn't suggested any inclination to do such a long deal so early in his career.

The Marlins love Fernandez, a generational type of talent who fits splendidly into the community and clubhouse and put up one of the great initial seasons in big-league history. Miami's first six-year offer to him also included two team options. The proposal would guarantee that Fernandez would stay in Miami through all of his arbitration years plus two free-agent years. Additionally, if the team options are exercised in years seven and eight, it could potentially keep Fernandez a Marlin until he's 30.

Marlins general manager Dan Jennings, speaking generally about the team's efforts to extend these four valued young players, suggested the team has hope to surprise folks, as it did with the record Stanton deal.

"We've had some great exchanges. I feel like we're moving in the right direction," Jennings said.

Jennings didn't suggest any particular pessimism, even in the case of Fernandez -- though he understands that historically, star clients of Scott Boras don't sign up to long deals early. Boras, who has a history of very few long-term deals for the very best talents (Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Baerga are two rare clients who did sign long deals early), declined comment. Jennings, meantime, showed a characteristically hopeful stance.

"We'll get it done. We'll get it done with Scott, too; we’ll just have to rassle a little harder," said Jennings, using his down-home Alabama phrasing.

Fernandez is the Marlins' pitching version of Stanton, a player they love for his fire and personality as well as his extreme talent.

"We'd love to have [Fernandez] for a long time … shoot, he's good," Jennings said.

The chance to do long deals with a couple of the others might be somewhat better than with Fernandez, though word is there's also work to do with at least Yelich. The offer to him was said to have been patterned after Starling Marte's $31 million, six-year deal, though it is also said to have been for less total dollars.

The Fernandez offer, perhaps patterned after very early long deals for White Sox star Chris Sale ($32.5 million) and Giants star Madison Bumgarner ($35.56 million) but said to be tops for a pitcher of his limited service time, also may be merely a starting point. It's clear the Marlins do love him and recognize his value to Miami, and he has established a rapport with several key people, Jennings included.

The Marlins hope he's as interested in staying, and other Marlins people have emphasized the "security" of the deal for the mega-talent who underwent Tommy John surgery in May and is expected back sometime this summer (by all accounts, he's doing extremely well with his rehab).

However, Fernandez's first-year performance exceeded even those of Sale and Bumgarner, and his side may view the likes of Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw as better comps for Fernandez, who went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA in his rookie season, when he led the National League by allowing only 5.8 hits per 9 innings. There's also the even bigger matter of whether the player has any inclination to do a long-term deal this early in his career, after barely more than a year of pitching at the big-league level.

Miami is said to be working hard to add a bat or two to support Stanton in the lineup, preferably but not necessarily ones who bat left-handed. But a lot of the effort now is also going toward trying to lock up this quartet of young players they've identified as key to the organization's future.

The Marlins are off to a great start this winter with the Stanton mega-signing, but they seem determined not to stop there. Understandably, they love their young nucleus.

As Jennings fairly said, "It could be a lot of fun for a lot of years."