The Dodgers are signing right-hander Elieser Hernández to a minor league deal, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The deal for the MVP Sports Group client includes an invite to major league Spring Training.
Hernández, 29 in May, didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 2023. He was acquired by the Mets from the Marlins in a December 2022 trade but began the season on the injured list due to a right shoulder strain. He was activated from the IL in July and optioned to the minors, but was recalled shortly thereafter and placed on the IL with a right pectoral strain. He finished the year having tossed just 9 1/3 innings in the minors, then was outrighted off the roster in November and elected free agency.
He has shown flashes of promise in previous seasons, but often with health getting in the way. He posted a 3.16 ERA in 2020, but in just six starts due to a strained right latissimus dorsi. He then had a 4.18 ERA in 2021, but only made 11 starts, missing time due to right biceps inflammation and a right quad strain. Over those two seasons, he struck out 26.3% of batters and gave out walks at just a 5.7% clip. But his ERA jumped to 6.35 in 2022 before he endured the mostly lost season last year.
The Dodgers have generally been unafraid to sign players with injury concerns, betting on the talent showing up with some luck on the health side. Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson, Jimmy Nelson, J.P. Feyereisen and Alex Reyes are just a few recent examples of players that the club has taken a chance on. In the case of Hernández, there’s no risk in bringing him aboard via this minor league deal and seeing what form he’s in once Spring Training rolls around. If he does make the roster, he can’t be optioned down to the minors since he has over five years of service time. He was worked as both a starter and reliever in his career but the lack of health will perhaps nudge towards spending more time in the bullpen.