Details aren’t available, but it’s surely a minor-league deal for the 34-year-old hurler. Hernandez is coming off of an especially trying campaign in which he carried a putrid 8.02 ERA over 42 2/3 innings with the Reds. He failed to turn things around in a late stint at Triple-A with the Yankees.
Thing is, little about Hernandez’s effort suggested those excruciating results. He racked up 11.2 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 while carrying career highs in swinging-strike rate (14.7%), chase rate (35.3%), and first-strike rate (65.2%). Hernandez allowed more homers than you’d like, but 1.48 per nine hardly stood out in a season of the long ball.
In large part, Hernandez seems to have been the victim of poor fortune. He allowed a hefty .393 batting average on balls in play and carried a meager 54.5% strand rate. Statcast measurements indicate that opponents didn’t hit the ball any harder than usual. He was kicked around for a .376 wOBA that dwarfed the .318 xwOBA that the contact quality suggested.
The Nats will see in camp whether Hernandez deserves a shot at turning things around. He’s surely a better option than his 2019 ERA would suggest, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll warrant a pen slot in D.C.