Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that free agent right-hander Roberto Hernandez is drawing interest from at least five teams, including the Indians.
Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, was arrested in his native Dominican Republic in January for falsifying his identity and didn’t end up making his season debut with the Indians until August 12. The 32-year-old posted a 7.53 ERA in 14 1/3 innings over three starts before being shut down with an ankle injury. The Indians declined his $6 million club option for 2013 following the season, but are interested in bringing him back at a lesser rate.
Hernandez owns a 4.64 ERA over seven seasons in the majors and will likely look for a one-year deal in hopes of reestablishing his value. He doesn’t have any visa issues and expects to report to spring training on time.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.