The Rays are nearing a deal with right-hander Roberto Hernandez, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). The free agent pitcher would provide depth for Tampa Bay's bullpen or rotation. Jorge Brito and Charisse Espinosa-Dash represent the 32-year-old.
As our Transaction Tracker shows, Hernandez would be the first free agent starting pitcher signed to a big league contract by the Rays since Andrew Friedman took over following the 2005 season. The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona allowed 15 runs in 14 2/3 innings spread across three late-season starts for the Indians this year after missing most of the season with visa issues stemming from his identity fraud case.
Hernandez owns a 5.06 ERA since finishing fourth in the 2007 AL Cy Young voting, the second worst mark in baseball behind Luke Hochevar (min. 600 IP). His 56.6% ground ball rate is the fourth best during that time, however.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.