Phillies Sign Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona)
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies have signed free agent pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Hernandez is 33 years old and has spent seven season with the Indians before joining the Rays last season. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer adds that Amaro may not seek another pitcher to add into the rotation.
Hernandez has shown glimmers of promise over his eight-year career, but has mostly been a sub-replacement level starter, owning a career 4.67 ERA over exactly 1,100 innings of work. Last season with the Rays, he reached a career-high 17.6 percent strikeout rate and only walked six percent. Along with his penchant for avoiding the fly ball (53 percent ground ball rate), his 3.60 xFIP in 2013 was a career-best. His career average is 4.25.
Hernandez’s biggest problem has been the home run. 12.5 percent of fly balls he has allowed have cleared the fence, including a whopping 21 percent last season (24 total). Perhaps intentionally, given his ground ball rate, Hernandez strikes out far fewer batters when runners are on base as opposed to the bases being empty. In 2013, he struck out 75 batters in 381 plate appearances (20 percent) with no one on, but only 38 in 262 PA (14.5 percent) with runners on base. His control also suffers, with respective walk rates of four percent and eight percent.
Perhaps most striking is Hernandez’s platoon split. In 2013, he dominated right-handed hitters, holding them to a .668 OPS including just seven home runs in 291 PA. Left-handed hitters were another story, as they posted a .905 OPS against him with 17 home runs in 352 PA. Nine of them came on the sinker, four on the slider, and four on the change-up.
The platoon split has been a factor throughout Hernandez’s career, as his career split is .689 against right-handers and .814 against lefties. It would make more sense to use him in the bullpen as a right-handed specialist.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the deal is for one year. The salary has yet to be disclosed [Update: $4.5 million with $1.5 million incentives, per Dierkes] […] the Phillies could have done worse, like getting locked into a five-year deal with Matt Garza or overpaying for Bronson Arroyo.
With Hernandez in tow, the Phillies appear to be set with a rotation that includes Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Kyle Kendrick, and Hernandez with Jonathan Pettibone ready to fill in at a moment’s notice.
Update: More on the incentives:
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) December 12, 2013