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Phillies sign right-handed reliever Hernandez

Has 6 seasons of big league experience with D-backs, Orioles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Phillies made their first move of the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, and it proved to be a precursor to the Ken Giles trade.

The Phillies signed right-handed reliever David Hernandez to a one-year, $3.9 million contract. It gives them a late-inning reliever who could stabilize the bullpen once Giles is dealt to Houston. Sources told on Wednesday night that the Phillies and Astros have agreed to to that trade, which would send four players to Philadelphia. The deal is pending physicals.

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"Sometimes, if you sign a David Hernandez, that may open the door to a different trade possibility than we had anticipated," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "Or if you make a trade, that might open the door to a different free-agent signing. We're trying to balance it all. That makes us no different from any team. We have a lot of balls in the air, most of which you're working on never come to fruition. But every once in a while something will."

Hernandez, 30, went 1-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 40 appearances last season with Arizona. He missed 2014 and the first two months of the '15 season following Tommy John surgery. Before that, Hernandez was Arizona's setup man, compiling a 3.42 ERA and picking up 17 saves over three seasons. He began his career with the Orioles, who drafted him in the 16th round in the 2005 Draft.

"It was a priority for us to add someone to the back of our bullpen who has pitched in high-level situations in the past," Klentak said. "Throughout the last couple of months, we've been adding a lot of depth to our bullpen. Many of those players don't come with a lot of experience. So we wanted to make sure that we added at least one player who added a lot of experience who could help to pitch in the late part of the game."

Phillies president Andy MacPhail and Klentak were with the Orioles when Hernandez made his big league debut in 2009. Player development director Joe Jordan helped draft Hernandez in '05.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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