LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As the Phillies exited these winter meetings Thursday, they agreed to terms with righthander Roberto Hernandez, an addition that could complete their starting rotation.
A source said Hernandez's agreement, believed to be for one year, is pending a physical that should happen within the next week. CSNPhilly.com first reported the signing.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team was close to signing an unnamed pitcher.
"It's more of a depth guy," Amaro said. "This is not someone who is going to slide into the top of the rotation. He's in the bottom of the rotation. But we need some depth. Again, we're trying to get the best bang for our buck. In this marketplace, it's tough because the prices have soared pretty significantly."
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The Phillies could enter 2014 with some combination of Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, Hernandez, Jonathan Pettibone and Miguel Gonzalez as their rotation. Amaro said if he signs another starter, it will not be a front-line pitcher.
Amaro was not enthused with the price for pitching, so he settled with Hernandez. As it stands, Kendrick is the team's third starter. "Who knows if he will step up to be the No. 3?" Amaro said. "Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could be that guy."
It will have to come from within.
"I don't know if we'll be adding another guy," Amaro said. "We've talked a lot internally about some of our options. Pettibone and Ethan Martin will be stretched out in spring training. Hopefully that will create enough depth for us. We're going to try to continue to look for more depth there. The likely signings we would have are probably going to be free-agent invites to create depth in triple A."
Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, started 24 games for Tampa Bay last season and had a 4.89 ERA. The 33-year-old righty's career ERA is 4.67 in eight seasons. In 2007, when he was 26, he won 19 games for Cleveland and finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting.
He was arrested in January 2012 for falsifying his identity. Hernandez was three years older than he claimed. He was not granted reentry to the United States until July and was suspended for three weeks by Major League Baseball for identity fraud.
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