The Rays made official Tuesday the signing of RHP Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona. The deal is a one year agreement reportedly worth $3.25-million, with additional incentives. Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the signing, saying that it "remains unclear if Hernandez will take a spot at the back end of the rotation."
Indeed, it is possible that the Rays may use Hernandez as a 5th-starter type. His ground ball tendencies and quality stuff may play well at Tropicana Field where he will pitch in front of a far better defense than he ever boasted during his time in Cleveland. It is more likely however, that Hernandez will see significant time in the Rays bullpen, acting essentially as Wade Davis' replacement; eating innings when necessary and serving as injury or inability insurance for Jeff Niemann and Chris Archer, respectively.
Andrew Friedman likes the moves' potential upside.
"We feel like this is one of those risk-reward stories that makes a lot of sense for us," Friedman said. "Upside is really compelling."
"This guy has got really good stuff," Friedman said. "We feel he has the repertoire to get out right-handed and left-handed hitters. … It gives us a chance to add to our pitching depth, which is something that is a focus for us in a way that it hasn't been in recent years."
Tommy Rancel shared his thoughts on the signing at The Process Report, saying:
Expect changes to be made: mechanical, mental, and philosophical. At the same time, he comes already equipped with biggest piece of the puzzle—natural talent. Now all he has to do is figure out how the pieces fit.
Only time will tell if Hernandez can make those pieces fit, but with Benoit, Peralta and Rodney before him, the Rays have shown that they have the patience and ability to get the most out of raw natural talents. No doubt, the Rays organization has a knack for finding troubled pitchers and revitalizing them into dominant relievers, and with Hernandez they appear to have found themselves their next great reclamation project.
- Former Rays minor-leaguer Matt Bush accepted a plea deal that will see him serve a 51-month jail sentence for his actions during a March DUI-hit-and-run. The one time overall pick will serve a total of 3 1/2 years in prison, a startling fall from grace for the once No. 1 overall pick.
- Matthew Carruth of Fangraphs explores the ever-fluctuating strike zone. Its a great read.
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- Marc Normandin wonders what exactly the Red Sox's off-season plan is? Good question.
- Former scout Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com shares some insight into Rays SS prospect Hak Ju Lee, who Pleskoff watched during the Arizona Fall League. While he has concerns about his power, Pleskoff is impressed with Lee's speed and glove work.