Apr 20, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez (55) at bat in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Dodgers 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to Sunday’s series finale loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays made a subtle signing, adding catcher Ramon Hernandez on a Minor League deal and assigning him to the team’s triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.
The news was first reported by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca via Twitter.
The 37-year-old Hernandez was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 22nd after posting a .208 average with 3 home runs and 6 RBI for the Dodgers in 17 games and 55 plate appearances.
A veteran of 15 seasons, Hernandez will be joining his seventh organization. He was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 1994 and would spend parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues with the Athletics before being traded with Terrence Long to San Diego for Mark Kotsay in November 2003.
After becoming a free agent following the 2005 season, Hernandez would sign with the Baltimore and would serve as the Orioles primary catcher for three seasons. After the 2008 season, Hernandez would again be dealt, this time to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a package of players that included former Blue Jays prospect Ryan Freel.
He would spend three seasons in a platoon situation in Cincinnati before moving on to Colorado prior to the 2012 season and served primarily as a back-up to Rockies rookie Wilin Rosario last season. Finally, the Rockies would flip Hernandez to the Dodgers for Aaron Harang, who would later be dealt to Seattle.
Over the course of his 15-year career, Hernandez owns a respectable .263 batting average with 169 career home runs, and a .744 OPS.
It remains to be seen what the Blue Jays could be looking for in Hernandez, at least in terms of what the Major League roster needs. That said, both Mike Nickeas and Sean Ochinko have been struggling with the bats in Buffalo, and with Toronto’s commitment to fielding a winner in their first season in Buffalo, Hernandez could be asked to provide an offensive upgrade at the catching position for the Bisons.