Considering the current options available and the projected battle for the final rotation spots, there were few expectations that the Washington Nationals would entertain the idea of re-signing Livan Hernandez this winter. While the right-hander certainly provided some value over the past two and a half seasons, there just simply no longer is a need for a nearly 37 year old innings-eater on the roster anymore. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Hernandez signed a minor league contract (presumably with an invitation to Spring Training) earlier this afternoon with the Houston Astros.
This is almost certainly a move with depth in mind, as the Astros project to have a full starting rotation heading into the 2012 season. The organization – while heading in an uncertain direction – could look to move one or two of those rotation options, though it’s widely expected that any deals involving Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers aren’t likely to take place until closer to mid-season. Hernandez had expressed a willingness to pitch in any role had he returned to Washington. It’s unclear how willing he will be to pitch out of Houston’s bullpen, if asked.