Last year I was puzzled that the Rays signed Rodney to a deal that guaranteed him $2 million. It proved to be a bargain.
I am even more mystified that they made this deal with Hernandez. He is guaranteed $3.25 million. I cannot see him displacing any of the projected starters, so that means he is the highest paid relief pitcher on the staff, and probably will reach some incentives to increase that salary.
Is there something else in the works? Do the Rays think that Hernandez is likely to be a better choice than Price, Hellickson, Moore, Niemann, Cobb, Archer or even Odorizzi?
Assuming a 7 man bullpen, the Rays have Rodney, Peralta and McGee as definites. Would they risk losing Ramos or Torres by trying to send them down to AAA? If not, that makes 5. The loser from Cobb, Archer and Odorizzi will probably go to Durham rather than the bullpen, so there remain 2 spots. I imagine Hernandez gets one of them-ground ball specialist/long relief-and Gomes or De La Rosa gets the other unless they are going to convert Montgomery.
Maybe that is the idea and Hernandez is the first choice to start in case of an emergency rather than calling up Archer.
I like acquiring him, but wonder at the cost compared to Badenhop. It suggests either that they have a far more extensive role planned for him and/or that there is another trade brewing that includes at least one starting pitcher. Doesn't it?