PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hoped to contend with Roberto Hernandez as their No. 5 starter, but failing that, they hoped to flip him to a contending team for a prospect or two.
They believe they accomplished the latter Thursday, when they traded Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named or cash. The Dodgers, who claimed Hernandez on waivers, will pay the remaining $1.5 million on his one-year, $4.5 million contract.
"The fact we weren't going to be offering him ... a qualifying offer or anything like that, we felt like it was a move to help give us some talent in our system," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The Phillies will select two lower-level Minor League players from a pool of players the Phillies and Dodgers agreed upon. Amaro said they will scout those players the remainder of the Minor League season before making their selections.
"I think they're going to be guys that are going to be down the line," he said, referring to younger prospects. "But we have some decent reports on them. And listen, they're down the line. The further down the line, they're more of a crapshoot."
Amaro said last week following the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline he did not like the talent offered for his veteran players. While Hernandez certainly was not going to land a top prospect, Amaro thinks the Phillies have enough talent to choose from.
But in the Phils' minds, if they were going to let Hernandez walk at the end of the season, it made sense to roll the dice and take a shot at it. Other teams have had success with players like this in the past. Sign a player who has struggled, have him bounce back and flip him for talent.
Hernandez posted a 3.87 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts). He had a 4.89 ERA last season with the Rays.
"That was actually something we cognizantly thought of," Amaro said. "We've seen other clubs do it, have some levels of success with it. Roberto served us well. He pitched well for us and did a nice job for us. But if we can convert him into what we think will be some talent in our system, then so be it."
Amaro is hopeful more moves are coming before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline. The Cubs reportedly claimed Cole Hamels on waivers, but while the Cubs have the prospects to acquire somebody like Hamels, it is unlikely a deal will be struck. If the Phillies are intent on trading Hamels, they could wait until the offseason to re-engage the Cubs and involve the league's 28 other teams.
The Cubs and Phillies have 48 hours to work out a deal for Hamels, which might not be enough time.
"We are in position to do that, whether we add or subtract, or a little bit of both," Amaro said about having an active August. "We are in a pretty good position. One, we have a lot of claiming rights if we want to claim players who we think we will help us moving forward. The other thing we may be able to do, we have flexibility if some of these guys get through, to maybe do some things to improve the club down the road. We have some flexibility both ways right now, which is a good thing. We'll continue to look through the waiver wire and see whether there are advantages to claiming a guy or seeing if there is a way to improve the club."
The Phillies selected Triple-A right-hander Sean O'Sullivan's contract to replace Hernandez on the 25-man roster. He started Thursday in Hernandez's place. He could remain in the rotation the remainder of the season.
Hernandez will make his Dodgers debut Friday against Milwaukee.
"I'm going to miss all my teammates," Hernandez said through a translator. "It was fun here. A lot of fun clubhouse guys."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less