The Colorado Rockies have decided on which path the team will take at the catcher position going forward, and unfortunately for Ramon Hernandez, it’s a road that does not include him.
The veteran’s chances had already taken a hit when the Rockies signed Yorvit Torrealba to a minor league contract in the off-season to start a little competition for the backup job behind young slugger Wilin Rosario, and Hernandez’s poor performance in Spring Training — .533 OPS over 20 at-bats — has not helped his case any.
Torrealba, on the other hand, has been tearing it up in spring with 1.344 OPS over 17 at-bats, and even though that won’t be worth all that much on Opening Day, those numbers will more than likely earn him the backup job with the Rockies, especially considering that Hernandez has a $3.2 million salary to his name.
So, naturally, Colorado’s next move is to try to ship the 36-year old Hernandez out of town and according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, that move might happen by Thursday.
That the team had been looking to trade from their depth at backstop (to acquire the pitcher that they sorely need) has been well-documented, but with little time left to make that happen, the Rockies may not find a suitable partner as interested teams may simply wait for them to let him go:
#Rockies might not find taker for R. Hernandez, who is due $3.2M. Release possible. Torrealba will back up Rosario.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 26, 2013
That’s not to say that there won’t be a number of interested parties, though. Hernandez is at the twilight years of his career, but the 14-year veteran is still just one year removed from a pair of 2.0+ fWAR, near-.800 OPS seasons with the Cincinnati Reds from 2010 to 2011, and there’s may still be something in his bat in a backup/platoon role — if you believe 2012 was a down year, anyway.
Whether the Rockies will wind up getting any value for him is yet to be seen, but I’d imagine that with teams like the Los Angeles Angels and potentially the New York Yankees (who are all about dumpster-diving these days) looking for depth at backstop, Hernandez won’t be unemployed for long, even if he couldn’t cut it in Colorado.