It's not exactly the start of a full-blown rebuild, but the Philadelphia Phillies have made a trade that sends right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported the news Thursday.
The move doesn't impact the Phillies at the major league level. They were in the National League East cellar with Hernandez, and he was due to become a free agent at the end of the year after signing a one-year deal with the team last winter.
It doesn't sound like the return for Hernandez will be much, as MLB Roster Moves' official Twitter noted the deal can also be for cash instead of players:
However, John Clark of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia did provide some reasons for how Hernandez's absence the rest of the season will hurt the Phillies' rotation:
For the Dodgers, this move does help address the team's need for starting pitching down the stretch. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported in July that they were exploring the market before the non-waiver period.
General manager Ned Colletti was quoted in Shaikin's piece as saying that an injury to Josh Beckett would have no impact on any potential roster moves because "we have been active in July and August. If there is a deal we feel can make us better, we will pursue it."
The Dodgers do need starting depth behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Dan Haren has been awful since the All-Star break with a 6.33 ERA, 1.406 WHIP and 23 hits allowed in 21.1 innings.
Even Beckett, who has been great with a 2.88 ERA and is scheduled to start Friday against Milwaukee, can't be counted on after throwing 43.1 innings last year.
Hernandez has put together his best season since 2010 with Cleveland thanks to that 3.87 ERA. He still walks too many hitters (55 in 121 innings) but has the lowest home run rate in four years (0.8).
If nothing else, Hernandez will be a pitcher the Dodgers can use in the rotation if they need someone to make a spot start or use him out of the bullpen to give one of their regular relievers a rest.
The Dodgers have built up a 2.5-game lead in the National League West over the San Francisco Giants, so doing something drastic wasn't necessary for them to make the postseason. Colletti waited out the market to find someone his team can use and didn't have to give up top prospects as a result, which can only be seen as a positive at this stage of the season.
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