The Atlanta Braves made news today when the team agreed to a minor league deal with Felix Hernandez. If Hernandez makes the team, he’s thought to be competing for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
The Atlanta Braves agreed to a minor league deal with Felix Hernandez this afternoon. The deal includes a non-roster invitation to Spring Training and will pay Hernandez one million dollars if he can make the roster. If King Felix does make the roster, he’s thought to be competing for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
This is an interesting move for the Braves. Over the past ten seasons, Hernandez has been arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. However, in 2020, Hernandez is an ace no longer. And, that’s okay. Coming into the Spring Training, the Braves felt Hernandez was worth a flyer on the former AL Cy Young winner. The deal posses little risk for the Braves with a chance to strike gold on an aging great if Hernandez can recapture some of the magic that made him one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last ten seasons.
Hernandez is definitely not the same guy. His velocity has been dropping for the past few seasons, with his fastball topping out in the low 90s. That’s not a dealbreaker for Hernandez, however, who has been great with his control over the years. While he will always be a legend in Seattle, Hernandez is getting his last chance to extend his career in Atlanta.
I like this deal for the Braves, but I don’t think Hernandez will make this roster when the season starts. With pitchers and catchers reporting in three weeks, the Braves starting rotation seems mostly set. Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, and Cole Hamels are set for the first four spots of the rotation. That leaves Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb, and Bryse Wilson competing for the last spot in the rotation. Bringing in Hernandez will push the young starters to decide the final spot. Or, King Felix will reign for one more season. Stay tuned to find out.