Ramon Hernandez Rumors
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few teams looking for an extra catcher are talking to the Rockies about acquiring Ramon Hernandez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Yankees haven't inquired but the Angels, Pirates, Rays, and Phillies could all have interest (Twitter link).
The Rockies have a surplus of catchers with Hernandez, Wilin Rosario, Jordan Pacheco, and Yorvit Torrealba in the fold. Colorado is said to like Torrealba's veteran leadership and his handling of young pitchers, making fellow veteran Hernandez expendable. Hernandez, 36, is set to earn $3.2MM this season on the backend of his two-year pact.
Earlier today we heard that the Padres haven't settled on a long-term strategy for third baseman Chase Headley. They'll hold onto him for now, but could trade or extend him later in 2013. Here are more notes from the Padres' division...
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Dodgers' pursuit of trades for Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez began as early as last April. The new ownership looked ahead to the free agent market for first basemen and shortstops and knew the upgrades they sought wouldn't be available.
- Yorvit Torrealba could force the Rockies into a decision regarding their catching situation, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The team loves his veteran leadership and handling of young pitchers, and could look to trade Ramon Hernandez before the end of Spring Training.
- The Rockies are scouting out of options pitchers who could appear on waivers later on this month, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The Rockies' rotation features lots of uncertainty and some optimism at this stage, Renck writes. Here's MLBTR's list of out of options players.
- Buster Posey and the Giants are not close on an extension, but if it happens, the best comparable for a deal would be Joey Votto's 12-year pact and not a three-year one, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Prized offseason acquisition Zack Greinke left his Dodgers teammates this morning to have his right elbow examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, but the club insists that it's strictly a precautionary move, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The Dodgers are reportedly prepared to sit on their pitching surplus for now in part because of minor health issues that Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with.
Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports speculated that the Rockies could trade a catcher in order to bolster their pitching staff and of the team's three backstops, Ramon Hernandez would be the most likely to go. The 36-year-old, who is earning $3.2MM this season on the backend of his two-year deal, has learned not to be bothered by trade talk, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "I remember when I was with the Reds, it was the same thing..The last few days before the deadline, the Giants' manager told me, 'You're leaving with us. You're going back to San Francisco.' Then later on I was told I wasn't going anywhere until the end, right at the deadline. Then the Reds put me on waivers, somebody claimed me, they pulled me back out, and I didn't go anywhere." Here's more from around baseball..
- Twins star Justin Morneau downplayed comments he made earlier this week in which he said that it would be "very cool" to play for the Blue Jays since he grew up in Canada, writes Phil Miller of the Star-Tribune. While he didn't disown the remark but he did restate his desire to win in Minnesota.
- Pitcher Kyle McClellan wants to be more than just insurance for the Rangers this season, writes Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com. The right-hander signed a minor league deal with Texas this winter and can opt out of his deal on March 22nd if he does not make the big league roster. The Rangers could potentially use McClellan as a starter or place him in the bullpen.
- John Maine is looking to get back on track with the Marlins in 2013 and the former Mets hurler says that he is throwing without pain for the first time since 2012, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.
The Rockies' offense out-scored all but two National League clubs in 2012, even though Troy Tulowitzki missed two thirds of the season. The Colorado offense should again be prolific, but the pitching staff remains a concern. In an attempt to balance out their roster, the Rockies might trade a position player for a starting pitcher, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Rockies aim to add another capable starting pitcher to a rotation that now includes Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa, Drew Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio. According to Rosenthal, the Rockies hope to add someone in the Josh Fogg mold -- a pitcher capable of posting a 4.50-4.75 ERA for 150-175 innings.
The Rockies might look to bolster their pitching staff by trading a catcher. Wilin Rosario, Ramon Hernandez, Jordan Pacheco and Yorvit Torrealba provide manager Walt Weiss with an abundance of choices behind the plate. Hernandez is the player the Rockies would most like to deal, Rosenthal writes.
The Dodgers have starting pitching depth and might be positioned to trade someone like Chris Capuano. I expect they could match up with the Rockies depending on their confidence in the tandem of A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz and their willingness to trade within the division.
Ramon Hernandez ruptured his left distal hamstring tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The 36-year-old will undergo surgery next week after playing in just 52 games. Here are more Rockies-related notes from Troy Renck of the Denver Post...
- Hernandez would probably have been an offseason trade candidate, Renck writes (on Twitter). Completing a deal will now be more challenging because of Hernandez’s injuries and age. Hernandez will earn $3.2MM in 2013, the final season of the two-year, $6.4MM contract he signed last offseason.
- The Rockies need pitching, but Renck repeated that he wouldn't trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez for arms (Twitter link). It's risky to assume pitching performances will translate in Denver, as Renck notes.