The media guide says Orlando Hernandez is 36 and the overunder proposition line is 40, but the Diamondbacks say they couldn’t care less about the age of their newest starting pitcher.
"I just watched Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield and David Wells win enough games to know that over 35, there is sort of one demographic,’’ said D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes, who spent the previous three years in Boston.
"Some of the best pitchers in baseball today are north of 40. We need to be smart about how we use him. When he is on the mound, he can be one of the very best pitchers in baseball.’’
The D-Backs officially announced the acquisition of Hernandez, pitcher Luis Vizcaino and outfield prospect Chris Young for Javier Vazquez and cash (believed to be about $3 million) after reading Hernandez’s MRIs on Tuesday.
They also are believed to have made a two-year contract offer to free agent and Valley resident Jeff DaVanon, 32, to become their starting center fielder, although Byrnes called "premature’’ a report that he had signed.
"We’re still talking with more than one club,’’ DaVanon’s agent Mike Nicotera said. "We have discussed parameters of a deal with several clubs. The Phoenix area is certainly attractive for a number of reasons.’’
DaVanon hit .231 with two homers and 11 stolen bases in 225 at-bats with the Los Angeles Angels last season but is a career .256 hitter with 28 homers and 48 stolen bases in 978 at-bats over parts of six seasons.
He hit .282 with 12 homers, 43 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 330 at-bats in 2003, but his playing time was limited the last two seasons by the Angels’ acquisitions of Vladimir Guerrero and Steve Finley.
Vazquez, addressing the issue publicly for the first time, reiterated his decision to seek a trade was family motivated.
"Obviously, I really wanted to stay, but at the end of the day it was not as much for me but for my wife and my two young kids,’’ Vazquez said.
"It wasn’t easy. I talked to some of the players in Arizona and I told them what I felt. It wasn’t easy, because the last three years I’ve played for three different teams. That is something I thought about. My family is so important to me. It was a family decision all the way.’’
Vazquez will go to the World Series-winning White Sox from a team that won 77 games last year.
"I think they have a few pieces, but I think they need to add a few pieces to be right there in the race,’’ Vazquez said of the D-Backs.
"In the (NL) West, there is really not a dominating team. I thought last year we had a chance but we didn’t play as well as we thought we would. I think they tried to trade me before I asked for a trade, but that’s another story.’’
Byrnes said the acquisition of Vizcaino helps the bullpen, and "we need to get better there. We are working on another free agent,’’ he said.
The D-Backs, who have no veteran left-handers in the bullpen, have had previous conversations with left-hander Terry Mulholland, 42, another Valley resident.
"What seems like enough (pitching) in December never seems to be enough,’’ Byrnes said.
The D-Backs offered a contract to all five of their arbitration-eligible players — Alex Cintron, Johnny Estrada, Brandon Lyon, Claudio Vargas and Vizcaino — by the Tuesday deadline. Representatives of each side will exchange salary figures and an independent arbitrator will decide upon one during the hearing period in February.