Roberto Hernandez Rumors

Rays, Roberto Hernandez Nearing Deal

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.


Ohio Notes: Hernandez, Bourn, Mesoraco, Hannahan

The Indians are still pursuing free agent Kevin Youkilis and still trying to work out a multi-team trade involving Asdrubal Cabrera and the Diamondbacks, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).  The Tribe is also looking at alternative moves in case Youkilis signs elsewhere or the complicated trade fails to materialize.  We collected the latest items about the Tribe's pursuit of Youkilis and Nick Swisher earlier today on MLBTR and yesterday looked at the latest mountain of speculation surrounding this rumored multi-team deal that also reportedly involves the Rangers, Rays, Mariners, Justin Upton, Derek Holland and a number of young players.

The Reds have generated a lot of buzz this offseason as well, so let's check in on the latest from both of Ohio's clubs…


Free Agent Notes: Hernandez, Feliciano, Youkilis

A fresh batch of free agent notes for Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in Nashville…

  • Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) seeks a one-year deal and has drawn interest from at least five teams including the Indians, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.  The righty missed most of the 2012 season due to charges of using a false name and difficulty obtaining a visa.
  • Free agent lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano is healthy and intends to pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League, his agent tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The 36-year-old finished up a two-year deal from the Yankees, during which he did not pitch in the Majors at all due to shoulder surgery.
  • Kevin Youkilis doesn't care whether he plays first or third base, agent Joe Bick told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  On a side note, the Reds and Red Sox do not appear to be in on Youk.


Roberto Hernandez Drawing “Healthy” Interest

Right-hander Roberto Hernandez is drawing "healthy" interest on the open market, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer (on Twitter). The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona became a free agent when the Indians declined his $6MM option.

Hernandez, 32, missed most of this season due to visa issues stemming from his identity fraud case. He allowed 15 runs in 14 2/3 innings across three starts one year after pitching to a 5.25 ERA in 188 2/3 innings. Hoynes says the Indians are still interested in re-signing Hernandez, who did not crack Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agents List and is fully recovered from a late-season ankle injury.


Quick Hits: Rays, Reynolds, Indians, Durbin

Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the Rays can afford to keep both James Shields and David Price on next year's roster, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (Twitter link). As I explained this morning, it could be tempting for the Rays to address other needs by trading a frontline starter. For example, the Dodgers are among the teams that could try to obtain Shields from Tampa Bay. Here are today’s links…

  • Mark Reynolds would like to play for the Orioles next year, but he’ll explore his options if he hits the open market, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. "If they non-tender me it wouldn't be very smart of me to not see what else is out there," Reynolds said. The Orioles declined their club option for Reynolds today, and they now have a month to determine whether to tender him a contract through the arbitration process.
  • GM Chris Antonetti suggested there's a slim chance the Indians will re-sign Roberto Hernandez this offseason, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (Twitter links). The chances of re-signing Travis Hafner seem more remote, Bastian writes. The Indians, who declined club options for Hernandez and Hafner earlier today, are not working with a set payroll, according to the GM.
  • All Bases Covered Sports now represents free agent reliever Chad Durbin, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link). Check out MLBTR's Agency Database for current information on players and their agents.
  • Earlier in the week I previewed the top offseason storylines at MLBTR. In case you missed it, there’s a parallel piece running online at USA Today and in this week’s edition of Sports Weekly.

Indians Exercise Option For Jimenez, Decline For Hafner & Hernandez

The Indians have exercised Ubaldo Jimenez's option for 2013, the team announced. Cleveland also declined their options for Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez.

Jimenez, 28, will earn $5.75MM next season after pitching to a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts and 176 2/3 innings last year. Given his track record and age, it's a worthy gamble. The 35-year-old Hafner hit .228/.346/.438 in 263 plate appearances this year, and will receive a $2.75MM buyout instead of a $13MM salary. Hernandez, 32, allowed 15 runs in 14 1/3 innings across three starts this year. His option was worth $6MM.


AL Central Links: Volstad, Masterson, Indians, ChiSox

As the World Series shifts to Comerica Park for tomorrow's Game Three, here's the latest from around the AL Central….

  • The Royals' waiver claim pickup of Chris Volstad could be a sign of how the team plans to take a low-cost approach to upgrading its pitching staff, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  Royals GM Dayton Moore said free agents "won’t be a long-term answer for us” because the club hopes to have homegrown pitching prospects in the rotation by 2014.  “We’ve got to look internally,” Moore said. “We’ve got to look through trades. We’ve got to look, certainly, through free agency…we might be able to pick off a player or two, but we’re not going to build our team through free agency. It won’t work.”
  • Given the Indians' need for pitching and the cost of acquiring new starters, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian believes the team won't deal starter Justin Masterson (Twitter link).  The groundball specialist has been rumored to be on the trade market following a disappointing 2012 season.
  • Travis Hafner's $13MM team option for 2013 is a sure bet to be bought out by the Indians, tweets Bastian, while the Tribe will likely also decline Roberto Hernandez's $6MM club option.  Ubaldo Jimenez's $5.75MM club option for next season is "expected" to be picked up.  Bastian thinks it's "hard to believe" that the Indians would re-sign the injury-plagued Grady Sizemore as a free agent. 
  • The White Sox face four difficult option decisions on Jake Peavy, Kevin Youkilis, Gavin Floyd and Brett Myers, writes Paul Swydan for ESPN (Insider subscription required).  Swydan opines that Floyd is a more proven rotation candidate than Myers and "if only one option of the two is picked up, it should be Floyd's," while Youkilis could be a good candidate to be retained given Chicago's lack of depth at third base.  Peavy's $22MM option "is difficult to justify" given his injury history, though Swydan notes that Peavy provided close to $20MM worth of value during his healthy 2012 season.
  • In other White Sox news, Hahn discussed Peavy's option and more in his introductory press conference as the club's new general manager.

AL Central Notes: Liriano, Hernandez, Tigers

As Tigers left-hander Phil Coke celebrates his 30th birthday, here's are a few rumors from around the AL Central…

  • The Twins are looking for pitching in exchange for Francisco Liriano and in any deadline deal, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports.
  • Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez is expected to soon receive a new visa that would allow him to return to the United States, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.  Hernandez has been training in the Dominican Republic but would require some minor league starts before returning to the Tribe and may yet face a suspension for using his false "Fausto Carmona" identity, though the Indians don't think a suspension is likely.
  • James Schmehl of MLive.com suggests the Tigers could trade the extra draft pick they were awarded in yesterday's inaugural competitive balance lottery.  The Tigers will get a compensation pick after the second round and, unlike other MLB draft picks, these competitive balance picks are allowed to be dealt.

Central Links: Liriano, Carpenter, Hernandez

On this date in 1999, the Royals tore off a 10-run eighth inning en route to an 11-7 win over the Indians, according to Baseball-Reference. Kansas City's only homer in the barrage was a two-out solo shot by Johnny Damon, now of the Indians. On with the Central Links:

  • The Twins will see "robust interest" in left-hander Francisco Liriano as the trade deadline nears, a club official tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com (Twitter link). Liriano has pitched better of late after a terrible start to the season, though his ERA sits at 5.30 and his SIERA at 4.10.
  • The Cardinals' pursuits leading up to the trade deadline will largely be shaped by Chris Carpenter's attempt to return from a shoulder injury, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. GM John Mozeliak is targeting July 1 as a yardstick for Carpenter's progress, although the right-hander recently suffered a setback. The Redbirds plan to seek a starting pitcher.
  • Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, likely won't have to serve an eight-week suspension similar to the one being served by the Marlins' Juan Carlos Oviedo for playing under a false identity, GM Chris Antonetti told reporters, including Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Hernandez will probably be excused from the suspension because he restructured his contract this offseason.

Quick Hits: Hamels, Hernandez, Bourn, Jurrjens

It was on this day in 1869 that professional baseball had its first rainout, as a game between the Red Stockings and the Antioch Nine was postponed due to poor weather.  While some teams can guarantee games will always be played thanks to retractable roofs or domed stadiums, the rainout is still a common element of baseball, welcomed by nobody except fans of the 1948 Boston Braves.

Some news from around the majors as we head into June…

  • The Phillies and Cole Hamels haven't made any progress in contract negotiations, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.  Some baseball executives expect Hamels to hit free agency this winter, with one NL official telling Olney, "Unless the Phillies give him one of the top deals in history, why wouldn't he test [the market]?  He's so close to free agency."
  • Roberto Hernandez could be back in the Major Leagues by the All-Star Break, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Hernandez, a.k.a. Fausto Carmona, isn't expected to receive an eight-week suspension for identity fraud like Juan Carlos Oviedo, as his restructured contract with the Indians is expected to be seen as sufficient penalty.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) predicts Braves outfielder Michael Bourn will look for a five- or six-year contract with an average annual value of around $15MM when he hits free agency after this season.  The Braves were known to be looking for young center field talent last winter since they weren't keen on paying Bourn such a large contract, though his strong performance thus far in 2012 could change the team's mind.
  • Jair Jurrjens "is a guy that other clubs need to get back on," says a scout who has seen Jurrjens pitch in Triple-A, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The Braves dangled Jurrjens as trade bait during the offseason, though if he really was back on form, you would think Atlanta would want him to help its own struggling pitching rotation.  Jurrjens has a 4.85 ERA and a 2.63 K/BB ratio in six minor league starts this season, pitching very well in four outings but getting rocked in two others.
  • "There might be no team further away from success than the Minnesota Twins," writes Jonah Keri for Grantland in a piece that outlines how the Twins have become one of baseball's worst clubs.
  • Ernesto Frieri has been a boon to the Angels' bullpen, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.  Since being acquired from the Padres four weeks ago, Frieri has yet to allow a run or even a hit in 12 innings for the Angels, though he has recorded 10 walks.