Rockies rumors: Ramon Hernandez traded before Opening Day?

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

The performance of Colorado's other veteran catcher, Yorvit Torrealba, may force the club to look at trade options for Ramon Hernandez before April arrives.

When the Colorado Rockies brought Yorvit Torrealba back to Denver on a minor-league deal in late January, it was presumed that he would serve as insurance and depth if one of the Wilin Rosario/Ramon Hernandez tandem went down with an injury. Now a month into camp, however, it appears as though Torrealba may be working his way onto the Opening Day roster even with everyone else being healthy.

Torrealba's renewed positive presence in the Colorado clubhouse may push the Rockies into a roster-crunch decision, which could mean trading Hernandez away, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com:

If Torrealba, who played for the Rangers and the Blue Jays last season, provides what the Rockies think he can, he will force the club into a decision. The team has second-year slugger Wilin Rosario as the primary catcher, and is paying veteran Ramon Hernandez $3.2 million...

The club could look to move Hernandez in a trade, although it might involve eating some of the salary.

This is not the first time the 36-year-old catcher's name has popped up in trade rumors over the last month. Even before Torrealba started turning heads in camp, Ken Rosenthal speculated that Hernandez might be on his way out of Colorado.

All that being said, the Rockies may struggle to get anything of worth in return for Hernandez if they trade him this month. The veteran backstop is coming off the worst season of his career -- .217/.247/.353 with five home runs in 52 games -- and is still rehabbing from a ruptured hamstring that sidelined him for the final month of 2012.

If Colorado wants to up his trade value, they may have to wait a month or two to deal him; at least long enough to demonstrate that Hernandez can return to his career norms at the plate. He is a career .264/.327/.417 hitter in parts of 14 big-league seasons.

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