Livan Hernandez Rumors
The Astros announced that they have released right-hander Livan Hernandez. The Astros had signed Hernandez to a minor league deal in January and would have owed the Praver/Shapiro client $100K if they had placed him on the Opening Day roster.
Hernandez posted a 4.47 ERA with 5.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 175 1/3 innings for the 2011 Nationals. The 37-year-old has averaged 216 innings and a 4.44 ERA since 1998, his first full season as a big league starter, and has completed at least 175 innings in each of the past 14 seasons. He earned $1.25MM in 2011.
Links for Saturday afternoon..
- Yoenis Cespedes' deal with the Athletics is now official, according to the club's Twitter account. Cespedes' deal is for four years and is reportedly worth $36MM.
- In a corresponding move, the A's opened a spot for Cespedes on the 40-man roster by placing Scott Sizemore on the 60-day disabled list. Sizemore will miss the entire 2012 campaign after tearing his left ACL.
- Outfielders Rick Ankiel and Brett Carroll, who are both on minor league deals, are making a solid case to make the Nationals' major league squad, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- Although people in the Nationals organization like Davey Johnson wanted him to return, Livan Hernandez says that he knew early on that his time was up in Washington, tweets Ladson.
- The Brewers renewed the contract of right-hander John Axford this afternoon and the two sides continue to talk about a multiyear deal, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Right-hander Kiko Calero is considering a procedure similar to what Bartolo Colon underwent as he weighs a comeback, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Both the Yankees and Red Sox are operating differently in 2012 thanks to the luxury tax threshold of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The new provision, Speier writes, creates the possibility for more payroll parity than the game has seen in years.
The Astros have signed Livan Hernandez to a minor league deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The Praver/Shapiro client would provide Houston with rotation depth if he makes the team out of Spring Training.
Hernandez posted a 4.47 ERA with 5.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 175 1/3 innings for the 2011 Nationals. The 36-year-old has averaged 216 innings and a 4.44 ERA since 1998, his first full season as a big league starter, and has completed at least 175 innings in each of the past 14 seasons. He earned $1.25MM in 2011, but didn't obtain guaranteed money from the Astros.
Most of the current chatter surrounding the Nationals focuses on a certain free agent first baseman, but as Amanda Comak of the Washington Times explains, the team also seeks bench and bullpen help. Here are the details:
- The Nationals haven’t ruled out bringing Rick Ankiel back, partly because they like his defense and influence in the clubhouse.
- We shouldn’t expect the Nationals to re-sign Ivan Rodriguez or Livan Hernandez, Comak writes. The door has been ‘closed’ on Hernandez, as the team no longer has room on its roster or openings in its rotation.
- There's a 50-50 chance free agent reliever Todd Coffey returns to the Nationals, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Ladson says the Brewers still have interest in Coffey, who has also drawn interest from the Angels and Mets.
The Nationals are looking to return to the .500 mark for the first time since 2005, their inaugural season in Washington. Here's the latest on the team:
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests the Nationals might become serious bidders for Ryan Madson if the Phillies don't lock the closer up.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo joined Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio and said he’s still looking for a center fielder (all Twitter links via MLB Network Radio). The Nationals will "probably" trade from minor league or Major League depth for a center fielder, Rizzo said. The GM added that the Nationals are set at second, shortstop and first.
- The Nationals expressed interest in B.J. Upton, Denard Span and others over the course of the summer and Bowden suggests the Twins are a possible trade partner again (Twitter link).
- Free agent right-hander Livan Hernandez won't return to the Nationals, according to Rosenthal, who won't be surprised if the Marlins turn to Carlos Zambrano or Hernandez if their pursuit of Mark Buehrle comes up short. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes rounded up all of the latest Marlins rumors earlier today.
- The Nationals must place catcher Derek Norris on the 40-man roster or risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The Nationals now have 32 players on their 40-man roster, so there’s room for Norris, who hit .210/.367/.446 at Double-A in 2011.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on a conference call that the team will make an announcement about its 2012 manager within a few days. The team has conducted a series of interviews and will presumably announce that Davey Johnson will return to the bench next year. Here are more notes from Rizzo's conference call with:
- The Nationals are indeed expected to make Johnson their manager, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- The team is corresponding with the representatives for right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, but the sides aren't close to a deal, according to Ladson (on Twitter). They discussed a contract extension earlier in October.
- The Nationals haven't spoken to free agents Ivan Rodriguez or Livan Hernandez since early in the offseason, according to Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com.
- Washington would lose its 16th overall pick for signing a Type A free agent and that's something that Rizzo will factor into the team's decision-making process this offseason.
- Rizzo has not seen Yu Darvish in person in the last two years, according to Goessling. However, the Nationals have scouted the right-hander and it sounds as though they’re open to bidding on him if he’s posted.
- Darvish is on Washington's radar and Nationals scouts have seen him pitch in person at least nine times, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported earlier this month.
A few items about the D.C. nine....
- John Lannan could be a valuable trade chip for the Nats this winter, writes Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com. Lannan will go into the arbitration process for the second time and could possibly double his $2.75MM salary from 2011. It's not like the club couldn't afford paying Lannan a $5.5MM salary, but Goessling speculates that the Nationals could address other needs by dealing Lannan and then signing C.J. Wilson as an even better left-hander for the rotation.
- Also from Goessling, he wonders how the Nats' season would have played out if the team had kept Josh Willingham.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson looks at Washington's roster and predicts what each player's role on the 2012 team will be. Roger Bernadina, Ross Detwiler, Jesus Flores, Chris Marrero and Drew Storen are all listed as "possible trade chips" and Ladson thinks Ivan Rodriguez and Livan Hernandez (among others) are "all but gone."
- For more MLBTR Nationals coverage, check out our Nats-specific Facebook page, RSS feed and Twitter feed.
Stephen Strasburg struck out ten Marlins without allowing a run over six innings of work in Washington's season finale this afternoon. Here are the latest links on the Nationals, who finish the season with an impressive 80-81 record...
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he hopes to be managing the team again in 2012 (Twitter link). "I know I'm the best candidate," he said. Jon Heyman of SI.com has been reporting for a while that Johnson can have the Nationals' job if he wants it, though GM Mike Rizzo is expected to go through with a complete search.
- Jayson Werth bristles at the idea that 2011 was a lost season for him and the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Werth feels that he's helped the team improve by working with other veterans to change its culture. Within Kilgore’s piece, Werth says he's not particularly good at dealing with failure and offers other insights into his first season with Washington.
- Livan Hernandez declined to say whether he and the Nationals have discussed a contract for next year, but he repeated his interest in re-signing with Washington, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
The Nationals took a 63-73 record into today's action, putting them on pace to finish with a better record than the Orioles (55-81) for the sixth time since the Nats moved to Washington after the 2004 season. Of course, since neither team has topped the .500 mark in that stretch, the Battle of the Beltways isn't exactly recognized as a top-tier baseball rivalry.
Here are the latest items about the Nats and the O's....
- Stephen Strasburg talks to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore about his year-long rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. Strasburg is scheduled to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers, and is penciled in for three more starts in September if things proceed as planned. Strasburg is on a 60-pitch limit for Tuesday and will be on an innings cap for the 2012 season.
- Livan Hernandez will be shut down after his start on Sunday so the Nationals can take look at some younger pitchers, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Hernandez agreed to the move and will be "a mentor/coach" for the club's young pitchers, perhaps with an eye towards a coaching job after his retires. Hernandez wants to return to Washington next season and has even offered to pitch middle relief, noting he will not go to the bullpen for any other team.
- If Hernandez doesn't re-sign, Adam Kilgore hears from a source that the Marlins are the top candidates to sign the veteran hurler.
- With Andy MacPhail rumored to be leaving at the end of the season, MASNsports.com's Amber Theoharis looks back at MacPhail's three best moves as the Orioles' president of baseball operations.
- This is probably no surprise given MacPhail's possible departure, but Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun expects "a significant front office overhaul" in Baltimore. In that same piece, Zrebiec also discusses how Kevin Gregg is a popular clubhouse figure and a valuable mentor to the Orioles' young pitchers, but the right-hander is having a difficult time closing games. Gregg is under contract for $5.8MM in 2012, with a $6MM club option for 2013.
- Also from Zrebiec, Brian Roberts has been told by doctors that his concussion problems shouldn't be career-ending. The second baseman hasn't played since May 16 after suffering his second concussion in as many seasons.
The Nationals expect Stephen Strasburg to return to the Major Leagues one week from today. Here are some links from D.C. in the meantime...
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he intends to handle Strasburg with "kid gloves" as the right-hander completes his return from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last September.
- Livan Hernandez said today that he wants to return to Washington in 2012, even if it means working in middle relief next year, Kilgore reports (on Twitter).
- Top 2010 draft pick Bryce Harper will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this year, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes. Harper, who made it to Double-A in his first professional season, is now recovering from a hamstring injury.
- Kilgore suggests Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann could be an extension candidate this offseason. Zimmermann, a likely super two player, came back from Tommy John surgery to put together a fantastic season in 2011, but he has now reached his innings limit for the year.
- For a look at a key member of the Nationals' front office, check out MLBTR's piece on GM candidate Bryan Minniti.