Orlando Hernandez Rumors
Orlando Hernandez has attempted comebacks in consecutive seasons and expressed interest in pitching in the Major Leagues this year, but he's ready to officially end his career. The right-hander will announce his retirement, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
El Duque last pitched in the Major Leagues for the 2007 Mets, but he made a name for himself across town as a playoff standout for the Yankees. Armed with a deceptive delivery, he suited up for the Yankees from 1998-2004, appearing in 16 postseason games with the club and helping New York win three consecutive World Championships.
Now 45, Hernandez retires with a playoff ERA of 2.55 with 9.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 106 innings. His regular season numbers are not quite as strong: a 4.13 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 1314 2/3 innings. In nine MLB seasons, Hernandez earned over $34.5MM.
The Rangers signed Hernandez in 2009 and the Nationals signed him in 2010, but neither club called him up despite solid numbers in the minor leagues. In 15 2/3 innings for Nationals affiliates, he posted a 1.72 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9, though he was 44 at the time.
Orlando Hernandez hasn't pitched in the majors for three years, but he intends to play in 2011, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). The Cuban right-hander has tried to reach the majors in each of the past two seasons without making it higher than Triple-A. But even at 45 years old, the former playoff hero believes he has the stuff to pitch in the major leagues.
Hernandez's minor league numbers suggest he may have what it takes to pitch at the highest level. He has stuck out more than a batter per inning at each one of the four minor league stops he has made over the course of the past two seasons. His ERA has never been above 2.45 in that time, but he has logged just 26.2 innings, so the sample size is small.
The Rangers, who signed Hernandez last year, and the Nationals, who signed him this year, did not call him up despite his numbers. If anyone can match Jamie Moyer's late-career success, it could be El Duque, who has never relied on an overpowering fastball and has always had a deceptive delivery.
As the ALCS gets underway, let's look at some news from around the majors...
- Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com (Insider subscription needed) proposes that if the Phillies can unload some big contracts, they could make a run at signing Cliff Lee this winter. Adding Lee to the current Roy Halladay/Roy Oswalt/Cole Hamels mix would create one of the all-time great rotations in baseball history, but this seems like a major longshot. If the Phils can really move Joe Blanton or Raul Ibanez like they can in Churchill's scenario, one would think they'd spend that freed-up money on more pressing needs than pitching.
- Writing for MLB.com, former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire strongly endorses Sandy Alderson for the vacant Mets GM job. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith profiled Alderson earlier today.
- Yoon Chul, the reporter who wrote that Shin-Soo Choo wanted a "transfer" to a winning team, has apologized to the Indians for "editing problems" that altered the meaning of the Cleveland outfielder's words according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Another Korean journalist, Jeeho Yoo, told the Tribe that Choo said "he wants to stay with one club for a long time and Cleveland would be his first choice."
- Jed Lowrie's strong second half has made him a candidate to either take over the starting shortstop's job from Marco Scutaro or to become trade bait for a club looking for a young infielder, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
- Some conflicted early reaction to Seattle's pending hire of Eric Wedge: CBSSports.com's Scott Miller thinks "the Mariners could not have made a more uninspiring hire," while 710ESPN Seattle's Shannon Drayer gets great reviews of Wedge from former players and Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com looks back at the Rangers' 2007 trade of Mark Teixeira and how it was the starting point for the club's current success. Texas acquired Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones from Atlanta for the slugging first baseman --- safe to say the Rangers won that deal.
- Speaking of Teixeira, he cited teammate C.C. Sabathia as "arguably...the best free agent signing in Yankees history." The story from Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger cites Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Teixeira himself and others as candidates for that title, plus Yankees GM Brian Cashman posits that Orlando Hernandez might've been the best signing from a pure dollars-to-performance standpoint.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle writes that the Astros can take some lessons from how the Rangers rebuild their franchise, and that the Astros have finally belatedly gotten started on their own youth movement.
- Austin Kearns tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he "would love to stay" in New York next season.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins told MLB.com's Lyle Spencer that "just about every" Angel has been placed on waivers this month. Naturally, that doesn't mean the team has interest in making more trades.
- Jeremy Bonderman told MLB.com’s Jason Beck that he would like to return to the Tigers in 2011. The Tigers have room for him, as this piece explains.
- Jim Edmonds told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he's likely to retire after the season. The center fielder, who is now on the DL with a strained oblique, may return to the Reds late in the season.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman tomorrow so that the lefty will be eligible for the team's postseason roster.
- Orlando Hernandez decided not to finish his AA season when he heard that the Nationals didn’t intend to call him up, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams told reporters that he didn't claim Brian Fuentes because his team doesn't need another left-handed reliever at this point.
- Joe Torre tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that he and GM Ned Colletti have discussed potential moves for the Dodgers.
- Jerry Manuel wouldn't mind seeing the Mets acquire a starting pitcher, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun provides his take on a few Orioles-related news stories, including who he thinks their next manager will be.
- Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi appeared on WEEI's Big Show and addressed how he thinks Theo Epstein will approach the trade deadline. Jay Asser has the transcript of the discussion at WEEI.com.
- A person "close to Cliff Lee" denies that the left-hander suggested he may have pitched his last game as a Mariner, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Sirius XM's Jim Duquette reported Lee's alleged comments yesterday (via Twitter).
- Livan Hernandez is excited about the Nationals signing his half-brother as a reliever, writes MASN's Ben Goessling.
The Nationals have signed Orlando Hernandez to a minor league contract, reports CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman at Nats Insider. El Duque, the half-brother of Livan Hernandez, will report to the team's Florida spring complex and may pitch for Triple-A Syracuse at some point this season.
The Rangers released the veteran right-hander last July, and at the age of 44, it seemed unlikely that Hernandez would catch on with another club. However, we heard this spring that he was still working out and throwing, in hopes of signing somewhere this season. At that point, Hernandez's velocity was sitting at about 82-83 mph, according to Reds scouting director Chris Buckley.
Orlando Hernandez is still working out and throwing because he wants to play in the majors again, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com. El Duque, 44, says he's willing to start or relieve. His agent says several teams are interested, but not quite yet. They'd prefer to wait until after Spring Training to assess their needs.
Links for Monday...
- Cliff Floyd is currently doing TV work, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweeted that the Nationals offered contracts to Chan Ho Park and Braden Looper. Park went with the Yankees, while Looper told the Nats he's going in a different direction.
- Orlando Hernandez is looking to get back in the game, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- Magglio Ordonez wants to play at least four more years, reports Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
- FOX Sports' Jim Bowden questioned Justin Upton, Theo Epstein, Jon Daniels, Dayton Moore, Kevin Goldstein, and Dave Cameron about modern statistics, and it made for an amusing video segment.
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post talked to several Nationals players about their arbitration hearings, which were not enjoyable. ESPN's Rob Neyer doesn't think it makes sense for players to attend.
- Manny Ramirez believes this is his last year with the Dodgers, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.
- Duaner Sanchez signed with the Mexico City Red Devils, reports Noroeste. Though Sanchez is said to be throwing "an easy 90 mph," his shoulder is still not 100 percent. He hopes to find his way back to the bigs after being released by the Padres in May of '09. Thanks to Nick Collias for the translation.
- Jesse Lund of the Twinkie Town blog has an excellent discussion with Twins assistant GM Rob Antony. Antony provided details on the J.J. Hardy trade talks, and also noted that the Kevin Kouzmanoff rumors were "a little blown out of proportion."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post doesn't buy the idea that the pressure will be off for Javier Vazquez as the Yankees #4 starter.
- Regarding catcher A.J. Pierzynski entering his contract year, White Sox GM Kenny Williams told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, "At some point, we'll check in with A.J. and his guys on expectations."
- The Diamondbacks offered Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo around $1MM, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
The Rangers have released righthander Orlando Hernandez according to T.R Sullivan of MLB.com. Yesterday we learned that Hernandez was likely to opt for free agency once his out clause kicked in on Monday, but the Rangers beat him to it.
El Duque had pitched effectively in 11 innings of relief with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he didn't show enough velocity or command for Texas to think he was big league ready.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers have told Orlando Hernandez that he will not be called up to the big leagues by Monday, which is when El Duque's out clause comes into play. Sullivan says Hernandez is expected to exercise the opt out and become a free agent.
In 11 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City, all in relief, Hernandez allowed just four hits and four walks while striking out 12 . Sullivan says that he did not show enough velocity or command for the Rangers to think he's ready to pitch in the big leagues.