The Baltimore Orioles have acquired Red Sox reliever Darwinzon Hernandez for cash considerations, the team announced on Wednesday.
Hernandez, 26, was recently designated for assignment by the Red Sox to make room for new acquisition Justin Turner, whom the Red Sox recently signed away from Los Angeles. The 6'2", 245 pound reliever has a fastball that sits at 93-95 but tops out at 97 miles per hour as well as a curveball, slider, and changeup. According to SoxProspects.com, Hernandez "throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts with his hands by his belt and keeps them there. High leg kick. Some effort in delivery and short arm action with a wrist wrap behind. Hides the ball well, keeping his arm behind his body until he releases the pitch. Gets great extension towards the plate."
Baltimore Orioles Acquire LHP Darwinzon Hernandez
Hernandez debuted with the Sox in 2019, appearing in 29 games (all in relief) and compiling a 4.45 ERA, 7.7 walks per nine innings, and an impressive 16.9 strikeouts per nine innings. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Hernandez pitched to a 2.16 ERA and again averaged well over one strikeout per inning. In 2021, the lefty appeared in 48 games for the Sox, pitching to a 3.38 ERA. While he again averaged over one strikeout per inning, Hernandez nearly walked one batter per inning as well. Hernandez struggled in 2022, however, to the tune of a 21.60 ERA, though he again walked and struck out a bunch of batters. He also gave up nearly 19 home runs per nine innings in 2022, albeit in a relatively small sample size.
While he has a good harm, it is no wonder the Red Sox found him expendable: he is the pitching version of former Orioles Great Jack Cust, and others who only produce the "three true outcomes" of home run, strikeout and walk.
The acquisition of Hernandez makes sense, as the Orioles are expected to be without lefty reliever Nick Vespi at least through spring training due to recent hernia surgery. For now, the Orioles can slot Hernandez in with lefties Cionel Perez and Keegan Akin as part of an already dynamic bullpen. Hernandez does have a pair of minor league options remaining, so the Orioles could option him if he is ineffective during spring training and/or the regular season.
In a corresponding move, the Baltimore Orioles designated first-baseman Lewin Diaz for assignment for the second time this winter.