A new beginning or a soon-to-be-forgotten coda to a great career? No one knows yet, but next month former Cy Young Award winner and six-time All-Star Félix Hernández will break camp with the Atlanta Braves. He signed a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp the with club yesterday.
King Félix endured his third straight below league average season in 2019, and last year was particularly ghastly for him on the mound, posting a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts. While he’s still only 33, Hernández came up for good at 19 and was a full-time starter at 20, so there are a lot of miles on that elbow, that shoulder, and those legs. Smart money would not have him returning to his old form or anything particularly close to it in the future. Smart money may even be laid on the idea that he’s, frankly, done as a pitcher.
But he’ll get one more crack at it at least, as he’ll try to make a Braves club which seems to have a good number of pitchers who stand a much, much better chance than he does of landing on the big league staff. Still. Hernández is a legend, and you take a no-risk chance on a legend if you have the opportunity to do so.
Whether that chance turns out to be a memorable, late-career mini renaissance or the baseball equivalent of Johnny Unitas playing for the San Diego Chargers remains to be seen.
SAN DIEGO – Right-hander Kyle Gibson and the Baltimore Orioles finalized a $10 million, one-year contract on Monday.
The 35-year-old would receive a $150,000 assignment bonus if traded, payable by the receiving team. He also can earn a $25,000 bonus if he is elected or selected for the All-Star team. Gibson was an All-Star in 2021.
Gibson was 10-8 with a 5.05 ERA in 31 starts for Philadelphia last season. He also pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two relief appearances in the postseason for the NL champions.
Baltimore gained another experienced arm as it looks to build on its surprising season. After losing 110 games the previous year, the Orioles contended for an AL wild card for much of the summer before finishing 83-79 for the franchise’s first winning record since 2016.
Gibson was an AL All-Star in 2021, going 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 starts for Texas. He was traded to Philadelphia that July, and he went 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 appearances for the Phillies down the stretch.
The 6-foot-6 Gibson was selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Twins in 2013.
He spent his first first seven seasons with Minnesota, going 67-68 with a 4.52 ERA in 193 games, including 188 starts. He had his best year in 2018, finishing with a career-low 3.62 ERA in a career-best 196 2/3 innings.
Gibson, who signed a $28 million, three-year contract with Texas in December 2019, is 89-91 with a 4.52 ERA in 267 major league games.