Livan Hernandez to spend September as coach/pinch-hitter

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Preferring to look at the team’s younger pitchers down the stretch, the Nationals informed Livan Hernandez today that he’d be removed from the rotation following his start Sunday against the Mets.

According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, manager Davey Johnson indicated that Hernandez would become a mentor/coach the rest of the way.  He won’t pitch out of the bullpen, but he will be available to serve as a pinch-hitter if needed.

The guess here is that Hernandez wasn’t keen to the idea of working as a reliever.  He’s made just one appearance out of the pen in his career and that was his very first appearance for the Marlins way back in 1996.  He’s made 473 consecutive starts since.

Hernandez has a pretty respectable 4.29 ERA in 28 starts this year, though he is at 4.99 since the All-Star break.  One wonders if he might be part of a rare September trade should some team approach the Nationals.  Hernandez wouldn’t be eligible to pitch in the postseason, but he’d make sense as an injury replacement: he could certainly eat up a few starts that might otherwise go to inexperienced pitchers.

With Hernandez out of the mix, it looks like the Nationals will use a rotation of John Lannan, Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang and Tom Milone the rest of the way.

Buyers and Sellers at the Trade Deadline: American League Central

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With Manny Machado’s trade completed, the rest of baseball can now turn its attention to the non-blue chip players on the market.

Yesterday, in our look-ahead to the second half, we mentioned some of the top players likely to be made available. Today we look at each team to see who is buying, who is selling, what they’re seeking and what they have to offer. Note: almost every contender, always, needs relief help.

As a reminder, the non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31. Players traded after that date but before August 31 need to pass through waivers unclaimed before they can be traded. All players traded before August 31 are eligible to be on their new team’s playoff roster should they make the postseason.

Next up, the American League Central:

Indians
Status: Buyers
Wanted: Bullpen help, bullpen help and then, maybe, some bullpen help. Who woulda thunk that a year or two ago? They could also use a spare outfielder. Everyone is gonna ask for righty Shane Bieber in return but it’d be hard to see the Indians trading him at all. Look for small deals, not big ones.

Twins
Status: Probably sellers
For Sale: Not a ton as, while they have underachieved this year, there is a good young core on this team that the Twins are going to give a chance to bounce back. Brian Dozier could be moved, though, as could the finishing-piece veterans the Twins brought in thinking that they’d contend this year. Guys like Fernando Rodney and Lance Lynn could be dealt. No blockbusters seem likely to run through Minnesota, however.

Tigers
Staus: Sellers
For Sale: Vetrans Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers could be had and, if the Tigers decide to do bigger deals, they could dangle starter Michael Fulmer or maybe even Nicholas Castellanos, though they could be considered pieces to build around rather than to deal. The Tigers need projectable and controllable bats and plenty of them.


White Sox
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Possibly Jose Abreu, though he’s probably worth more to Chicago than to the market. James Shields, Joakim Soria and Avasail Garcia could be had. Basically, if you can’t picture them playing on the 2020 White Sox, they’re at least worth asking about.

Royals
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Moustakas, Lucas Duda, maybe Jason Hammel if the market for starters goes crazy. It’s a rebuild footing for Kansas City, so it’s like a going-out-of-business sale at Woolworth’s circa 1990. If you ask for it, you can probably get it.