The Philadelphia Phillies trade Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and actually get something in return


Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies inactivity on the trade front is over. After the July 31st trade deadline passed quietly, the Phillies finally made a move, sending Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named later.

Most people were surprised by the news, as it seemed unlikely that another team would even want Hernandez, let alone give something back in return.

Considering that Hernandez was due to be a free agent at year’s end, this was a good move by the Phillies. Actually, the entire Hernandez saga should be viewed as a win.

In December 2013, the Phillies identified that they could use depth for the back of their rotation. Looking over the pool of free agent starters, they eventually settled on Hernandez. This was a positive development for two main reasons:

1. We all got a good laugh at the fact that they signed a guy who used to be known as Fausto Carmona.

2. They actually used analytics when making their decision.

As Matt Gelb reported, the Phillies used their fancy new analytics group to determine that Hernandez wasn’t necessarily as bad as his basic statistics would indicate. Therefore, he might be a candidate to have a better year in 2014.

Score one for analytics.

While he has been far from amazing, Hernandez pitched adequately for a fifth starter, posting a 3.87 ERA and 1.4 bWAR. Ironically, in 2014 he’s been better than his advanced statistics would predict,  as he has one of the worst strikeouts-to-walks ratio in baseball.

Now, the Phillies will (eventually) receive two minor league players in exchange for him. While I have no illusion that these “players to be named later” are anything more than fringe or “inventory” players, it’s still nice to get even that for a guy who is due to be a free agent at season’s end. Especially when that guy is Roberto Hernandez.

I’m still not entirely convinced that this wasn’t just a plot by the Dodgers to dump Matt Kemp‘s salary on the Phillies. Would it completely shock anyone if one of the players to be named later turns out to be Kemp?

Since Hernandez was scheduled to start tonight’s game, the Phillies are rushing to find a replacement. Sean O’Sullivan has been recalled from AAA, but it isn’t clear if he can make it to Philadelphia in time for the game. If he can’t make it, reliever Cesar Jimenez will start and likely pitch only two or three innings until O’Sullivan is presumably ready to go.