Ramon Hernandez Rumors

Royals Sign Ramon Hernandez

The Royals have signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Hernandez, 37, picked up a career-low 55 plate appearances with the Dodgers in 2013 and batted just .208/.291/.438. He did belt three homers in that time, showing that he still has some pop left in his bat. The Eric Goldschmidt client is a lifetime .263/.327/.417 hitter in parts of 15 Major League seasons with the Athletics, Padres, Orioles, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers.

In addition to starter Salvador Perez, the Royals already have a pair of catchers on their 40-man roster in Brett Hayes and Francisco Pena. Hernandez will compete with those two for a backup role in Kansas City.

Blue Jays Release Ramon Hernandez

The Blue Jays released catcher Ramon Hernandez, according to a Buffalo Bisons press release.

Hernandez was designated for assignment by the Rockies in March, then traded to the Dodgers, and then designated by the Dodgers and released in June.  The Blue Jays inked him to a minor league deal, but he appeared in only five games for the Bisons.

Hernandez, 37, was an All-Star with the Athletics in 2003.  With 169 career home runs, he ranks eighth all-time among Venezuelans.  Among those who have caught at least 1,000 games, Hernandez's home run total ranks 22nd all-time.

Blue Jays Sign Ramon Hernandez

The Blue Jays have signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a minor league deal, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter).  The Eric Goldschmidt client was released by the Dodgers on June 22nd after being designated for assignment.

The Dodgers acquired the 37-year-old from the Rockies back in April in exchange for Aaron Harang. The backstop saw only 55 plate appearances for Los Angeles, batting .208/.291/.438.  In 5,701 Major League plate appearances with the A's, Padres, Orioles, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers, Hernandez is a .263/.327/.417 hitter. 

Dodgers Release Ramon Hernandez

The Dodgers have released catcher Ramon Hernandez according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Hernandez had been designated for assignment on June 14 to clear a roster spot for A.J. Ellis.

The Dodgers acquired the veteran backstop from the Rockies on April 6 in exchange for Aaron  Harang. The 37-year-old saw only 55 plate appearances for Los Angeles, batting .208/.291/.438.

In 5701 Major League plate appearances with the A's, Padres, Orioles, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers, Hernandez is a .263/.327/.417 hitter. The Eric Goldschmidt client was in the final season of a 2-year, $6.5MM contract he signed with the Rockies prior to 2012.

Dodgers Designate Ramon Hernandez For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated Ramon Hernandez for assignment, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). The move allows the Dodgers to re-instate A.J. Ellis from the disabled list and keep Tim Federowicz on board as a backup.

The 37-year-old Hernandez came to the Dodgers on April 6 in exchange for Aaron Harang, who had been designated for assignment himself. The veteran backstop saw only 55 plate appearances for Los Angeles, batting .208/.291/.438. He did hit three homers and throw out two of the six potential base stealers he was faced with.

In parts of 15 Major League seasons between the A's, Padres, Orioles, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers, Hernandez is a .263/.327/.417 hitter. He is currently in the final year of a two-year, $6.5MM deal he signed with the Rockies in the 2011-12 offseason. Hernandez has just a .628 OPS and eight homers in 69 games over the life of that deal.

Dodgers Acquire Ramon Hernandez For Aaron Harang

Two division rivals were able to turn their surpluses into useful parts with a trade this afternoon.  The Dodgers will receive catcher Ramon Hernandez with starter Aaron Harang and $4.25MM heading to Colorado.

However, Harang probably won't stay in Colorado for long.  Soon after the deal, the Rockies announced that they designated the hurler for assignment.  They'll look to find a taker for him over the next ten days and unload his contract.

The right-hander was one of the club's surplus starters and was less-than-thrilled about having to come out of the bullpen in 2013.  The veteran posted a 3.61 ERA for the Dodgers last season with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across 179 2/3 innings of work.  The Rockies already are hearing from teams with interest in Harang and the Red Sox are one possibility as they look for a John Lackey replacement.

Harang signed a backloaded two-year, $12MM deal prior to the 2012 season. The deal paid him $3MM last year and $7MM this year with a $2MM buyout if his mutual option for 2014 is not exercised.  If his option is triggered, it could be worth $7MM-$8MM depending on his performance.  With the $2MM buyout off of the Dodgers' books, they'll wind up saving some money in luxury tax penalties next season.

The Rockies designated Hernandez for assignment just prior to Opening Day.  The catcher posted a .217/.247/.353 batting line in 184 at bats in 2012.  Colorado had a surplus of catchers and Hernandez was the odd man out after Yorvit Torrealba beat him out for a spot on the Opening Day roster.  

The Rockies inked the backstop to a two-year, $6.4MM deal after the 2011 season.  With the Dodgers, Hernandez can be expected to serve as added support for A.J. Ellis along with current understudy Tim Federowicz.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have a pair of extra starters in Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly.  Unlike Harang, Capuano has said that he is comfortable with serving as a reliever for the overloaded Dodgers.  General Manager Ned Colletti also had said that he enjoys having rotation depth, you can expect both pitchers to attract interest from clubs in need of a starter.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) first reported that Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) reported that Harang was going to the Rockies in the deal along with the cash considerations.  Additional details provided by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Rockies Designate Ramon Hernandez, Will Harris

FRIDAY: The Rockies tweet that they have officially designated Hernandez and pitcher Will Harris for assignment. They have also selected the contracts of Torrealba and pitcher Chris Volstad. Harris appeared in 17 2/3 innings for the Rockies in 2012, posting an 8.15 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

THURSDAY: The Rockies will designate catcher Ramon Hernandez for assignment, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (on Twitter). Yorvit Torrealba will serve as the backup to Wilin Rosario, Renck tweets.

The Rockies signed Hernandez to a two-year, $6.4MM contract following the 2011 season. He hit .217/.247/.353 in 184 at bats with Colorado in 2012. The Rockies had been rumored to be trying to trade him.

Rockies Likely To Trade Ramon Hernandez; Release Possible

TUESDAY, 9:50am: A release is possible for Hernandez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, since the Rockies might not find a taker.

MONDAY, 7:30pm: All signs point to Yorvit Torrealba making the Rockies' roster and Ramon Hernandez being traded, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Sulia link). Renck feels that there will be resolution of the situation no later than Thursday — the last game of Spring Training.

Torrealba, 34, batted .227/.293/.330 with four homers over the course of 218 plate appearances between the Rangers, Blue Jays and Brewers in 2012. He caught 22 percent of potential base-stealers, but his career mark of 30 percent is much stronger. Torrealba signed a minor league contract with the Rockies in January.

The 36-year-old Hernandez missed more than two months of action last season due to hamstring and hand injuries and posted a meager .217/.247/.353 batting line with five homers as a result. He's set to earn $3.2MM as he enters the second year of a two-year, $6.5MM contract he signed prior to the 2012 season. Like Torrealba, he's caught 30 perecent of potential base-stealers throughout his career, but had a down-season in that area last year (25 percent).

Regardless of which catcher makes the roster, he will playing second fiddle to sophomore powerhouse Wilin Rosario. The 24-year-old Rosario hit .270/.312/.530 with 28 homers in just 426 plate appearances last season and finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

NL Notes: Chapman, Stewart, Rockies, Braves

St. Patrick's Day is as much of a baseball holiday as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day thanks to former Reds GM Dick Wagner. Tom Singer of MLB.com chronicles how the baseball tradition of wearing the green came about 35 years ago. Elsewhere from the Reds and the rest of the National League:

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects a decision in the next few days on whether Aroldis Chapman will pitch out of the bullpen or be moved into the starting rotatation, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Chapman stated publicly he wants to close, which didn't sit well with Jocketty. "We don’t let every player tell us how they want to be used," the GM told MLB.com.
  • Ian Stewart's lingering left quad injury could affect his chances at making the roster and how the Cubs build their bench, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Brent Lillibridge, Luis Valbuena, Edwin Maysonet, and Alberto Gonzalez are competing to fill that void while manager Dale Sveum mentioned Steve Clevenger could be an interesting option and added the team is watching all the waiver wires. 
  • The Rockies are giving serious consideration to making Nolan Arenado their starting third baseman with one club official telling Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com "it’s a tough call." If Arenado receives the nod, Rosenthal believes incumbent third baseman Chris Nelson could be used to acquire a veteran starting pitcher.
  • Within the same piece, sources tell Rosenthal the Rockies want to move Ramon Hernandez and are willing to assume some of his $3.2MM salary to facilitate a trade.
  • Don't expect the Braves to have any interest in the recently released Matt Diaz because there isn't a need right now, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Marlins have returned Rule 5 selection Braulio Lara to the Rays, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The left-hander appeared in four games for the Marlins this spring throwing four innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Angels Looking For Backup Catcher

SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.

FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  

The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta.  As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin.  Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.  

Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish.  While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday.  Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake.  For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.

If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade.  A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop.  Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.