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Roberto Hernandez is first free agent pitcher to start for Rays since 2005

Apr 4, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Roberto Hernandez AP

When Roberto Hernandez takes the mound for the Rays this afternoon against the Orioles he’ll snap an incredible steak by becoming the first free agent pitcher to start for Tampa Bay since 2005.

According to the Rays’ official Twitter feed that’s a stretch of 1,207 consecutive games in which they did not use a starting pitcher who was acquired via major-league free agent contract. There were some minor-league signings used during that span, but the last pitcher signed to a big-league deal who started for the Rays was Hideo Nomo on July 25, 2005.

Hernandez signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Rays in December after barely pitching last season due to false identity charges (he used to be known as Fausto Carmona) and then an ankle injury.

By the way, check out the boxscore from that July 25, 2005 game. It’s fun.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    That says more about their budget than anything. They traded for Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza, so it’s not as if they developed all of their own pitchers over that time.

    • pewterpiratetampabayray - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Ok, you just named the ONLY TWO in 8 years. Even though we traded for him I would consider that the Rays “developed” Kazmir, not the Mets.

    • Mark - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      From 2006-2012 the Rays rank 4th in the AL in ERA. I wish my team had that kind of budget.

      By the way, the budget argument works both ways. Think about how screwed over the Rays would be if they signed Carl Crawford for instance. I realize Crawford isn’t a pitcher, but the point about budget gets overlooked because it prevents them from throwing money at guys in their decline phase. Or paying for that veteran experience. Or closing experience.

      • hittfamily - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        My brother has to worry about paying for flood insurance on his beachfront home, while I don’t. I see your point about why having more money is a bad thing.

      • Mark - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Having more money isn’t a bad thing. I never said it was. But if you or someone else is going to complain about being unable to spend significant dollars on players in free agency, then it’s worth pointing out that one benefit is avoiding having that money wasted on free agents who under perform.

        The other point that I made, was that the Rays didn’t need to waste that money in free agency on starting pitching because their homegrown pitching staff was more than good enough to get the job done. Since 2006 they ranked 4th in the AL in ERA, so it’s not like they needed to spend $$ in free agency on their rotation. And instead of wasting tens of millions of dollars on a closer, they were able to get quality relievers on the cheap at bargain prices (Benoit, Farnsworth, Rodney and Peralta in recent years).

  2. dondada10 - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Is Longoria cool with a free-agent starting? That’s such a Devil Rays thing to do.

  3. Bar None - Apr 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I was trying to figure out why I had never heard of the guy. Roberto will always be Fausto Carmona to me.

  4. proudlycanadian - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Dumster diving by the Rays.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      What ever happened to my spell check?

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