Félix Hernández opts out of minor league contract with Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Félix Hernández opts out of minor league contract with Orioles

Felix Hernandez
Photo credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

Félix Hernández, the once dominant pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, won’t be adding to his legacy with the Orioles. After compiling a 7.94 ERA in three starts, the last of which ended when Hernández acknowledged discomfort in his right elbow after pitching one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 16th, the right-hander elected to opt out of his minor league contract with the Orioles.

The news was first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and confirmed by an industry source.

Hernández, who will turn 35 on April 8th, showed reduced velocity in his three starts but still appeared to have a strong chance to make the team until his injury.

The Orioles have already announced their first three starters — John Means, Matt Harvey and Bruce Zimmermann. It’s likely that Dean Kremer and Jorge López will be the other two in a five-man rotation to start the 2021 season that begins on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox.

Hernández would have made $1 million this season if he had made the team. He threw a bullpen session last week, manager Brandon Hyde said, and was playing catch to maintain his arm strength.

Hernández was one of three veteran starters to sign minor league contracts with the Orioles. Harvey, whose contract was purchased last week, and Wade LeBlanc, who opted out on Thursday before returning Friday on a major league contract, were the others. It’s likely LeBlanc will start the season in a long relief role.

Hernández’s opt-out leaves the Orioles with 35 players in camp. One of those, outfielder DJ Stewart, probably will start the season on the 10-day injured list because of a hamstring injury.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Judi35

    March 29, 2021 at 9:38 am

    wish him luck, however did not think good fit for Orioles was more interested in adding wins and strikeouts than helping club.

    • Rob IsraOsFan

      March 29, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      Sorry, but I don’t quite follow the logic here. How does adding wins and strikeouts to his resume not also help the club at the same time? Felix was simply being honest about his dream to get into the HOF by adding some W’s and K’s to his stat sheet, but that isn’t a bad thing IMO.

  2. Bman

    March 29, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Rule 5’s decisions will be interesting. When can we move on from the Ruiz experiment? Too bad we did not get a longer look at Felix. Prob not much left in tank if his velocity was any indication.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 29, 2021 at 10:30 am

      Hoping both Rule 5 pitchers make the team, they showed some promise in Spring Training, and would be interesting, as you say, to see how they do during the regular season. Hopefully they will be surprisingly good!

      With Sanchez released, the Ruiz experiment looks like it might last a while longer and with him at other positions too! Via the Ruiz Experiment!

  3. BrooksPJs

    March 29, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I hope they go with Lopez and LeBlanc in the rotation to begin the season. Maybe let Kremer work on somethings in Norfolk to start the season.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 29, 2021 at 11:58 am

      What can Kremer work on in Norfolk that he can’t work on in Baltimore? Obviously winning games in Baltimore isn’t important .. heck may even be frowned upon … so tell me what exactly can he work on in Norfolk that he can’t in Baltimore?

      • BrooksPJs

        March 29, 2021 at 2:34 pm

        Same thing Akin can work on in Norfolk I suppose…

        • BrooksPJs

          March 29, 2021 at 2:53 pm

          Okay BRR here are some specifics that Kremer can work on at Norfolk, given the theory that a pitcher with a 5.40 ERA in Spring Training is washed up:

          Kremer can work on lowering his ERA from a catastrophic 2021 Spring Training ERA of 6.32 (gasp)!
          Kremer can work on lowering his WHIP from an equaling gasp inducing of 2021 Spring Training WHIP of 1.596
          Likewise Kremer’s OPS against of 0.812 and BB9 of 4.6 also need to be worked on.

          He needs to work on these things at AAA Norfolk because the MLB hitters are better than the AAA hitters and Kremer will get, I believe the term is blasted, pulled early and not get his innings in and not get as much work with the Orioles as he would at Norfolk! If Kremer starts off with the Orioles, their World Series hopes for 2021 are kaput IMO.

          With Severino showing he is ready to lead the Orioles offensively, the Orioles should be wary of jeopardizing the Orioles’ playoff chances by starting off the season with a pitcher with 6.32 ERA in the starting rotation.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            March 29, 2021 at 4:43 pm

            Did you say playoffs? Did you way World Series 2021?

            PJs…it does my heart good to see you’re not JUST a numbers geek, but that you have a sense of humor as well.

            That doesn’t mean I agree with you that Kremer needs to be “seasoned” in the minors. Especially with a major league team that really doesn’t have anybody better to put in there. Don’t we keep hearing not to worry about grapefruit league stat’s because the guys are “working on things”? This is the same doublespeak by the baseball brass that we’ve been hearing for years and years. It’s the same malarkey that the press repeats in print, and the readers soak it all in as if it were gospel. Soak, rinse, repeat … year after year. BS … If the boy’s arm is built up enough, I say bring ’em up. He can either pitch, or he can’t. Throw them in the deep end and let ’em swim. Let them learn against the best. If they can pitch … they’ll learn. AND … they’ll get up to speed way faster than pitching in the bushes.

            Just a difference in philosophy.

            One last comment PJs….at least you answered my question. More than most would take time to do.

          • Rob IsraOsFan

            March 29, 2021 at 6:36 pm

            PJs, being the stat guy that you are, I assumed you would be familiar with the obvious problems arising from very limited sample sizes. Just to prove how ridiculous ST stats are, if you remove Kremer’s 2 bad outings from his ST equation and analyze his 3 remaining good starts, then his ERA is a very impressive 2.53. Either way, the numbers from ST are neither here nor there. Based on your logic, we should also send Means down to Norfolk so he too can work on lowering his ERA from an extremely catastrophic 2021 Spring Training ERA of 7.11 (gasp gasp)!! Come on now!! Lastly, and just to ensure my understanding is correct, if Kremer starts off in Norfolk then you believe the O’s have a chance at winning the World Series in 2021? LMAO

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      Kremer is the 5th starter

    • CalsPals

      March 29, 2021 at 3:46 pm

      Seriously, you said WS hopes for this yr, just peed my paints laughing so hard…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      March 29, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      Pants…lol…go O’s…

      • Rob IsraOsFan

        March 29, 2021 at 6:56 pm

        CalsPals, that’s hilarious!! You should ask Pajama man if he has extra pajama pants to give you, LOL

    • Bhoffman1

      March 29, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      Right on Boog and Rob. I still say pajama man should become Severinos agent or Elias stat guy

    • dlgruber1

      March 29, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      PJs is welcome to correct me if I’m wrong but I’m thinking he wasn’t serious when mentioning the WS. I think they call that trolling.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 30, 2021 at 1:17 am

        Hey I gave him credit for having a sense of humor didn’t I?

  4. ClyOs

    March 29, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Of the three vets signed to minor league contracts (Hernandez, Harvey, LeBlanc) I thought Flex was the biggest reach, but was pulling for him the most to make the team. No harm, no foul I guess.

  5. jimcarter

    March 29, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Another failed experiment with an aging veteran who is way past his prime. It’s not even worth the most minimal effort. I hear “rebuilding”, but “retreads” comes to mind most often. That goes for the hangers on like Wilkerson and LeBlanc too.

  6. willmiranda

    March 29, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    I credit Felix with having a much more objective view of his present potential than that expressed by the O’s Think Tank. Good luck to him! If the O’s keep both Rule 5 pitchers, it’s not a positive comment on their own highly touted pitching prospects.

    • CalsPals

      March 29, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      :)….go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      March 29, 2021 at 2:39 pm

      Not sure keeping two Rule 5 pitchers is a neutral or negative comment on the Orioles pitching prospects. Maybe Elias made two great evaluations and Rule 5 draft picks?

      • jimcarter

        March 29, 2021 at 2:56 pm

        If so, he needs to buy a lottery ticket. We all know the success history of Rule 5 players.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 29, 2021 at 4:56 pm

        I’m with you Pajama man … I have no problem with the rule 5 guys…here’s to hoping Elias’ eye for talent is spot on in this case. If not? You send them back for what is it ? 50K? No harm, no foul.

  7. Beachdogs

    March 29, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    At least Hernandez didn’t cost us anything. I think he was a shot in the dark.

  8. CalsPals

    March 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Zimmerman really struggling…ouch…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 29, 2021 at 4:57 pm

      Let him swim!

  9. dlgruber1

    March 29, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    So long and best wishes Felix, we hardly knew ya.

    • Icterus fan

      March 30, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      At the risk of simplistic thinking, what amazing, talented pitcher would ever sign here, at least in the near term? We say “get us talent”, not retreads or rule 5, scrap heap, lightning-in-a bottle project type guys, so what’s the team supposed to do?
      Ridiculously overpay for talent? Not happening.
      No GOOD free agent is signing here until we start to trend upward.
      Until then, up your Xanax and buckle up for another bumpy ride. Come on, we’re used to this!

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