Phillies Add Hernandez (aka Carmona)
He never mentioned the pitcher by name because he needs to pass a physical before the Phillies announce the deal. But a source said it is right-hander Roberto Hernandez, who pitched under the name Fausto Carmona before he was arrested in Jan. 2012 for using a false identity.
It is a one-year deal, which MLBTradeRumors.com reported is worth $4.5 million with $1.5 million in incentives.
Hernandez, 33, went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 32 starts (24 appearances) last season with the Rays. He made his last start Aug. 27 before Tampa Bay moved him to the bullpen.
He will join a rotation that includes Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
“It’s more of a depth guy,” Amaro said. “It’s not somebody who is going to slide into the top of the rotation. But we need some depth. We’re trying to get the best bang for our buck, and in this marketplace it’s tough because the prices have soared pretty significantly. We’re just trying to add a little bit of depth.”
Hamels and Lee are the aces, but there is uncertainty in the rest of the rotation.
Kendrick had a 6.45 ERA in his final 14 starts last season before he stopped pitching because of a shoulder issue. Nobody knows what they will get from Gonzalez, who has not pitched competitively in some time.
Then there is Hernandez.
He made the All-Star team with the Indians in 2010, when he went 13-14 with a 3.77 ERA in 33 starts. He went 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts in 2011 before he missed most of the 2012 season because of the false identity arrest. Hernandez was arrested outside the U.S. consulate and could not return to the United States until he obtained a visa July 21. He made three starts upon his return, but an ankle injury derailed the rest of his season.
The Phillies hope Hernandez can eat up innings, while Kendrick returns to form and Gonzalez pitches like Phillies scouts said he can. Kendrick had a 3.50 ERA in 40 starts from April 29, 2012, through June 25. The Phillies liked Gonzalez so much they originally agreed to sign him to a $48 million deal. But a problem with his physical dropped his price to just $12 million, although the Phillies said Gonzalez is healthy.
“Who knows who’s going to step up to be the No .3?” Amaro said. “Miguel Alforedo Gonzalez could be that guy. We’re just trying to look for depth in that area. If we have to go with threes, four and fives to try to do that, that’s what we’ll do.”
The Phillies made previous runs at Ryan Vogelsong and Scott Feldman. They had been interested in Bronson Arroyo, but it appears that pursuit is finished. They made no effort to sign Bartolo Colon, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets.
If the Phillies add any more starting pitching it likely will be a guy that can shuttle between the bullpen and rotation, and free agents that likely will start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“I don’t know if we’ll be adding another guy,” Amaro said. “We’ve talked internally about some of our options. We’ll likely have (Jonathan) Pettibone and Ethan Martin stretched out and hopefully that will create enough depth for us. We’re going to try to continue to look for some depth there. The likely signings we’ll have there, if we can get this one done, will probably be free agent invites, that sort of thing, to create some depth in Triple-A.”
Amaro said he is “pretty comfortable” with the bullpen. It includes closer Jonathan Papelbon, who the Phillies have had no luck trading.
“We’re still maybe looking to add one more piece, but again most of those signings will probably end up being invites,” Amaro said. “I think it behooves us to sit back, wait and see how things shake out. There’s still a lot of players out there and I don’t know how many seats there are for them all. We’re trying to be patient to see how things work out.
“Some of the big names, for us, are probably more names than they are talent. I would imagine with the prices that are out there, and what they’re seeking, I don’t think it matches up with the level of talent. That’s my take on it. Someone’s going to pay, I’m sure. Someone is going to get the players. We’re just not targeting those because we don’t think it’s the right bang for the buck.”
They believe Hernandez is.