San Diego Padres Sign Cuban Pitcher Osvaldo Hernandez
The San Diego Padres have made yet another addition, as they have inked the Cuban lefty Osvaldo Hernandez to a deal.
With just a few weeks until opening day, the San Diego Padres are clearly not wasting any time this offseason. According to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, the team has signed Cuban pitching prospect Osvaldo Hernandez. The contract comes along with a $2.5 million bonus, although the Padres will pay a 100 percent luxury tax since they have already spent so much money on international players this winter.
In Hernandez, the San Diego Padres will receive a solid arm. Baseball America’s Ben Badler profiled the left-handed pitcher earlier yesterday, noting his advanced abilities for his age. Despite only being 18 years old, Hernandez has showcased a solid fastball that runs in the range of 89 to 94 mph.
Badler also commented on his curveball, which has “tight spin and good depth,” and slider. Combining two breaking pitches with the potential to be above-average offerings with a live fastball and developing changeup could turn him into a valuable player in the future.
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Hernandez previously pitched in the 18-and-under Pan American Championship in Mexico. During that competition last year, the lefty squared off against the United State twice with solid results. He held the Americans to just three runs in nearly 10 innings of work.
With this most recent signing, the San Diego Union-Tribune further noted on the sheer number of international players that the San Diego Padres have signed this offseason. Hernandez is now the sixth Cuban that the team has added since July 2, the start of the current signing period. They have now spent well over their $3.347 million pool, with Adrian Morejon receiving the most for any of their Cuban additions at $11 million. Jorge Ona took home the next biggest figure with $7 million, then Michel Baez with $3 million, Ronald Bolanos with $2.25 million and Ramon Perez with $400,000.
All of this spending has certainly had its benefits. MLB.com reports that the Padres have scooped up seven of the website’s top 30 international prospects. Four of these players manage to crack the team’s own top 30 prospects list, with the aforementioned Adrian Morejon leading the way at fifth overall.
Believe it or not, the Padres might not even be finished with their Cuban additions during this signing period. In the same article, the author notes that the team has an interest in outfield prospect Luis Robert. Should the Cuban be cleared for signing in time, the Padres could also make a run for him as well.