The Cincinnati Reds have made augmenting their bullpen the lone priority so far this offseason, which makes sense given how brutal the unit has performed as a whole over the last two seasons. On the heels of giving veteran righty Jared Hughes a 2-year contract back in December, it appears the Reds have added another experienced arm to the bullpen, as they announced the signing of David Hernandez on Tuesday afternoon.
The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan later relayed that Hernandez will make $2.5 million in each of his seasons under contract.
Hernandez, 32, is a veteran of the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Philadelphia Phillies, and spent his 2017 season split between the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of America of North America of Earth. Said 2017 season was quite a good one for him, too, as he posted a combined 143 ERA+ and 3.11 ERA in 55 IP between the two clubs, fanning 8.5 batters per 9 IP against a miniscule (and career best) 1.5 BB/9.
Any replication of that would serve the Reds quite well.
Unlike Hughes, Hernandez is not a groundball specialist, and in 2017 he induced them just 43% of the time (compared to Hughes’ excellent 62.2%). However, Hernandez relies on his breaking pitches to complement his 94-97 mph fastball quite well, combining a slider and curve ball that he used on almost 48% of his overall pitches in 2017. Of course, when you look at the average velocity of what FanGraphs considered his ‘slider’ in 2017 to how he’s thrown his curve over the years, it’s clear that he’s added in a wrinkle that he hadn’t used in previous seasons, one that’s been described as a ‘cutter’ in other circles. That, though, is a pretty positive thing, since FanGraphs has long graded his secondary pitches quite well in terms of their pitch value.
Welcome to the Reds, David.