The Red Sox have outrighted catcher Ronaldo Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced on Friday. The move clears a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster, which now sits at 39 players.
Hernandez, 25, was originally acquired from the Rays in a February 2021 trade that sent pitchers Jeffrey Springs and Chris Mazza to Tampa Bay. The native Colombian first signed with the Rays as an international free agent in 2014 and was regarded as on of their top prospects at the time the deal between the two division rivals was made.
For the better part of the last two seasons, Hernandez — who had been added to Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster in 2019, provided the Red Sox with upper-minors catching depth. He was called up from Worcester on two separate occasions this year but he has yet to make his major-league debut.
With the WooSox this year, the right-handed hitting Hernandez batted .261/.297/.451 with 27 doubles, 17 home runs, 63 RBIs, 50 runs scored, 21 walks, and 92 strikeouts over 105 games (439 plate appearances). From behind the plate, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound backstop threw out 16 of 65 possible base stealers while also allowing 13 passed balls and committing six errors.
Back in October, MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith reported that the Red Sox expected Hernandez to be eligible for a rare fourth minor-league option in 2023. While most minor-leaguers only receive three options, Hernandez qualified for a fourth since he played fewer than five full seasons of pro ball while using three options.
According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Hernandez did receive that fourth option, but the Red Sox elected to waive him anyway. Since he subsequently cleared waivers, Hernandez will remain in the organization without occupying a 40-man roster spot. He is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 28 prospect in Boston’s farm system and has been playing winter ball in the Colombian Professional Baseball League.
By outrighting Hernandez, the Red Sox have an open spot on their 40-man roster to work with. That does not necessarily mean a trade or free agent signing is imminent, but the club could be looking ahead to next week’s Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
With Hernandez out of the picture to some degree, the only catchers currently on Boston’s 40-man roster are Connor Wong and Reese McGuire. Caleb Hamilton, who was outrighted last month, and Hernandez project as the club’s top two depth options at Worcester heading into next season. The Red Sox, of course, could still look to add a clear-cut starting catcher between now and Opening Day.
(Picture of Ronaldo Hernandez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)