Lewin Díaz is on the move again, with the Orioles again removing a left-handed hitting first baseman from their 40-man roster but also increasing their bullpen depth with the corresponding move.
Left-handed reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was acquired from the Red Sox this afternoon for cash considerations. Díaz was designated for assignment again – his fifth time since the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Hernandez, 26, appeared in 91 games with the Red Sox over parts of four seasons and compiled a 5.06 ERA and 1.734 WHIP in 85 1/3 innings. He’s walked 73 batters but also struck out 133.
The 2021 season was encouraging for Hernandez despite an oblique strain that cost him more than a month, with the Venezuelan native posting a 3.38 ERA in 48 games, but he pitched in only seven last year and allowed 16 earned runs (17 total) with eight walks in 6 2/3 innings. He had a 5.73 ERA and 1.485 WHIP in 23 games at Triple-A Worcester.
Hernandez was the Red Sox’s No. 4 prospect in 2019 and made his major league debut in May. He was optioned to begin the 2022 season, underwent knee surgery and didn’t rejoin Boston until July. His last appearance was Aug. 10, and the Red Sox designated him for assignment on Friday after signing free-agent infielder Justin Turner.
A mid-90s fastball, high strikeout totals and two remaining minor league options make Hernandez an intriguing bullpen candidate and sensible acquisition.
Left-handers have slashed .178/.347/.297 against Hernandez in the majors, and right-handers have hit .262/.412/.418. He’s made seven appearances against the Orioles and allowed two runs with 16 strikeouts in eight innings.
Cionel Pérez is the top left-hander among the club’s relievers, and Keegan Akin and DL Hall provide other possibilities. Hall will report to spring training with a chance to crack the rotation.
Nick Vespi underwent hernia surgery last week and won’t be ready for opening day.
The winter whirlwind keeps spinning Díaz around the majors.
The Orioles claimed Díaz off waivers from the Pirates on Dec. 2, designated him for assignment on the 21st and traded him to the Braves two days later for cash considerations. They claimed him again on Jan. 5.
The Marlins and Pirates designated Díaz for assignment in November.
First baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn was designated for assignment on Jan. 5 to create room for Díaz, and the Orioles apparently want to get him through waivers and keep him in the organization. They could try to do the same with Díaz.
The 40-man roster remains full.