Sources are telling Ken Rosenthal that the Kansas City Royals have signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Source: #Royals sign free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez to minor-league contract with invitation to major-league spring training.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 7, 2014
Hernandez, who will turn 38 in May, played for 17 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, batting .208/.291/.438 with 3 home runs in 55 plate appearances. He’ll compete with Brett Hayes and Francisco Pena for the back-up job to Salvador Perez.
Because he signed a minor league deal, Hernandez will not cost the Royals a 40-man roster spot. However, should he win the back-up catcher job out of spring training the Royals will have to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. This would seem to put him at a disadvantage to make the team compared to Pena and Hayes, who are each already on the 40-man roster.
Kansas City has been thought to be in the market for back-up catcher depth since trading George Kottaras to the Chicago Cubs for cash. Kottaras is set to make over $1 million in arbitration in 2014.
ORIOLES IN CONTACT WITH BRUCE CHEN
Things have been quiet on the Bruce Chen front, but that may be changing soon. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun says the Orioles have had internal conversations about signing Chen and have been in contact with his agent.
If the Orioles are looking for a veteran lefty to pitch some innings on a short deal, Chen could be a possibility. But it certainly isn’t the big move Orioles fans are yearning for.
Chen was 45-39 with a 4.32 ERA with the Royals over five seasons (yes, he was here for five years), and was 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA and nine quality starts last year between the bullpen and the rotation. While he was good with the Royals, he doesn’t really have a role with KC moving forward. Signing with a team like Baltimore may be his best option.