uspw_5384452Now that the Rays have made the Roberto Hernandez signing official and we know how much *gulp* he will make, let’s speculate on why the Rays made this deal. In the press release, the Rays do refer to Hernandez as a “starting pitcher.” Of course, he hasn’t made a relief appearance since 2006, so that may not mean anything. However, Andrew Friedman did tell Marc Topkin that Hernandez will compete for a spot in the rotation. Then again, the Rays also told Pat Burrell he would get a chance to play in the outfield, and we all knew that was never going to happen.

So, why would the Rays give a guaranteed $3.25 million to a guy that looks like he is going to replace Burke Badenhop in middle relief? Ultimately, one of two things must be going on…

1) The Rays are planning to trade another starting pitcher — While certainly possible, it seems unlikely that this is the reason for signing Hernandez. Unless Friedman has a trade already in place, it is a risk to sign a starting pitcher under the assumption that another pitcher will be traded. There is no guarantee that another team will give the Rays what they are seeking in any particular deal. And Friedman is not the sort to take gambles. It also seems unlikely that a trade is imminent as this signing has been known about for a week and it would be unusual to keep a trade waiting that long.

2) The Rays are hoping he will be a good starting pitcher (or a great long reliever) and they can flip him at the trade deadline for some prospects  He might be overpriced as a reliever*. But if he is a good starting pitcher, he’s a steal. That doesn’t add much value to the 2013 Rays as it is unlikely that he will be significantly better than Cobb or Niemann (although it is possible).  But he could be valuable to another team.

Ultimately, this is a risky signing, as Friedman admits (see below). Maybe he turns back into an all-star pitcher. The Rays have a good history of salvaging pitchers, but they have never done it with a starter before. Or maybe he goes to the bullpen for the first time in 7 years and dominates. Again, they have a good track record with relievers. But can they have the same success with an older starting pitcher? We’ll see.

*I say overpriced in the sense that, if he is a very good/great reliever he will give the Rays $3-4 million in value. That means they might break even on the deal. But the Rays don’t typically like to break even on players, especially in the bullpen. They prefer value. And even if he is a very good reliever, there is no value to be had here.


  • Andrew Friedman calls Roberto Hernandez “one of those risk-reward stories.” []
  • Matt Bush gets 3.5 years in prison. He accepted an extra year of prison in lieu of probation, which was referred to as a “disaster waiting to happen.” []
  • David Price said he was going to buy a Twinkie on eBay that he autographed. [Big League Stew]
  • Josh Freeman, good at turning the ball over. [BI Chart]
  • The Bucs set a dubious record. [JoeBucsFan]






  1. don says:

    Whatever, offer Marlins 2-3 starting cheap pitchers plus other cheap ML bums, Rod,Johnson,$400,000prospects ect ect.....hell anybody they want for Stanton....(he wants out of Miami)
    We would be "made" overnight...

    • Dave L says:

      Yeah take that trade idea over to the Marlins blog and fly it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it.

      You will instantly become as respected a poster there as you are here

    • Dan says:

      "Whatever, offer Marlins 2-3 starting cheap pitchers plus other cheap ML bums, Rod,Johnson,$400,000prospects ect ect"

      Don't you think about 20 other teams would be happy to offer the same deal if it was out there? Or do you think the Rays operate in a vaccum?

      It's not like the Marlins have been trading their players for the poo poo platter of crap you mentioned. They are getting real prospects, not just junk to dump.*

      *Marlins are still shady and their fans should hate them, but their trades aren't horrible. Just horrible they tricked the city into that stadium and blew up the team right away.

  2. Rob says:

    I'm sure the Marlins would go for that.

  3. Dave L says:

    Noted insider Ken Rosenthal was just on MLB commenting on the Fausto deal. He said with Shields and Davis gone the Rays need him to "step up and get some of those innings"

    WTF? which innings? So he essentially punted as well.

    I dont think the Rays even know at this point but if you try to fill out a 25 man roster today and stash some SP in Durham and Montgomery that are eligible, there are still too many arms and not enough spots.

    • Rob says:

      If Rosenthal is correct about that, it seems like a panicky move by the Rays. Does that mean they have concerns about who they have?

      Hopefully they just see this as an arbitrage situation where they just picked up someone whose value will be at its lowest and they can take advantage of that somehow - whether through a trade or a surprisingly productive year.

  4. Sean says:

    "Said Moore: 'He wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Rays, so I think the family is a little upset with the Rays, knowing Matt Bush's history, all the DUIs, why would they bring him to this area?'"

    Ok, daughter-in-law, it's really sad about your father-in-law and honestly everyone thinks its a terrible situation, but let's not make the money-grabbing attempt too obvious. The Rays are not responsible for an idiot's decisions; the idiot is. Any suit brought against the franchise should be laughed out of court.

  5. Burn H. says:

    I believe that we trade Roberto to the Angels for Kendrys Morales. I believe we would get a fairly decent DH with the ability to play 1st too. Morales goes to arb. and they project a 4 mill contract. The Angels need an innings eater and don't need Kendrys any more.

    • J 2.0 says:

      Not anymore, M's gave Angels more than we could and got Morales. Personally I would sign Luke Scott back if he is completely healthy. Guy can be a great versatile DH if healthy and could probably be head for like $2 mil. Accept it people that is Rays Baseball.

  6. Don says:

    Hey Dave L quit depending on Ken Rosenthal and MLB for your Rays information.... the only people that would be happy with getting rid of Stanton in Miami and getting two starting Pitchers and a handful of $400,000 role players and a few prospects would be the Owners, I don't remember them asking the fans on their other trades......or flagpoles
    You have already learned more from me than you will ever learn from Rosenthal..quit quoting him it doesn't help your credibility

  7. Dave L says:

    Ok Don. So two of our pitching prospects + SRod and EJ (who you touted as our infield savior last June) and maybe even Briggy will pry away Stanton from the the Marlins. The only thing stopping it is AF won't simply ask "pretty please".

    Well as was noted earlier the only 2 brain cells left in the Marlins front office would come alive briefly say uh no thanks then go back into sleep mode.

    The only thing I have learned from you is that when they say hindsight is always 20/20 you have disproven that entirely as your hindsight is even more blind than your foresight when it comes to baseball. Thats why your analysis are so laughable.

  8. don says:

    Dear Dave your observant as ususal..lets just take one Don's prophecy, last year when they resigned Pena, I was the ONLY one screaming.."He can't Hit" $8 mil are you crazy Friedman, in foresight....Look it up,
    when Upton (.240) got hurt early in the seasson and Zo went to OF and Kepp.(300+) started in the infield I said they didn't lose a thing, you said I was crazy...I was right again, in foresight.......You want to go on..

  9. Dave L says:

    BJ is your example? Really?

    Don your hindsight is a joke - thats why your predictions are so laughable.

    When BJ started the year on the DL you said we were a better team without him. He was replaced by an ice cold Eliot Johnson mostly as Zo was already on the field but you couldnt wrap your head around that fact. Kepp didn’t benefit from BJ’s absence EJ did. Kepp was playing a lot of DH and 3rd then. We were a .500 team without Upton. BJ went on to a great season for him and carried the team in august/sept.

    Is Upton (.240) and Kepp (.300+) supposed to prove Kepp is more valuable than BJ offensively by the way? Do you believe that really?

    When EJ went on a mini hot streak in May batting 9th you said he was the answer. Then they moved him up and he tanked.

    You said Maddon was a fool for platooning Joyce. When they let him hit against lefties late in the year he fell off the map statistically from both sides of the plate.

    You think Maddons moves make us weaker where in reality they are done to mask our weaknesses but you can’t realize that because it goes against the principles of what your often cited LL coach taught you.

    As far as Pena goes, at any given time there are only about 3 guys on the roster you even like or root for so its not surprising you get some of your always dire outlook fulfilled.

    Its very comical you take BJ as proof of your prognostications. Better off without him? You actually believed it because your hate told you it was so. And now you reconstruct a false history to back it up.

    Go ahead Don keep digging your hole deeper for all to see.

  10. don says:

    There's no 'false" history to it ....its facts, you could get it in print if you want, everything as stated is correct, so I know your struggling with your hindsight... Ask Rosenthal or MLB to help you out ... two more sources of hindsight...I'm in print hard to fight...huh?

  11. Dave L says:

    Didnt expect you to defend any of it. You could have at least humored us all and tried though.

    • don says:

      What I have said is in writing on posts..all correct, revelant and documented, what you spue is made up, no substance and mostly from TV and people who know nothing about the you fit in Well

      • Dave L says:

        Ok lets take them 1 at a time. We can do this real slow so you wont get confused.

        1) you said the 2012 Rays would be better off without BJ on the field and you say history of the last 8 months backs up your assertion?

        • don says:

          Wrong, you and many posters said BJ out hurts the Rays, I said Noway, Maddon had Kepp sitting on the bench most days with ZO playing in the infield, but with BJ out, Zo to outfield with Jennings and Joyce, Kepp fulltime in the infield, Rays not hurt in least, in fact more hits, less strikeouts, more runs...
          WE swapped BJ for problem.....wish we had same opptunity this year...Rays would be better....
          Think...Longo, Escobar, ZO and Kepp... a .280-.300 hitting infield...but oh no Rays F that if Zo goes to outfield we have RODZ or Roberts, and some loney guy.... a .240-.250 hitting infield...write that down " in advance" will you...

          • Dave L says:

            Wow you actually still believe that. Scary.

            Ok so lets try #2

            Kepp was a more productive Rays offensive player than BJ? Forget defense. Just offense.

  12. don says:

    Here you tell me:
    Kepp 385 ab 125h 325 avg 40rbi 31so .367obp,439slg 806 ops
    Upton 573 141 .246 78 169SO.298 454 752

    Here statman you tell me, which would you like to have on your team....
    100 point better avg and 130 less strikeouts with men on base..
    let me think who I would pick for playing time on my team

    • Dave L says:

      I'll take the guy with who led the team in RBI (78 to 40) and HR, was 3rd in runs (79 to 46). If he got on base so much why didnt he knock in more runs or score more?

      Its about scoring runs.

      Also I take the guy who never comes out of the lineup because he's 4.5 tools(as his average is never good granted) with speed and power against L and R and in the field.

      Kepp cant get in the lineup as much as his defensive skills are marginal ML level at whatever position you choose, he was ok at First base i guess.

      Plus the 2012 Rays were a .500 team when Upton didnt play didnt play, because of injury.


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