Three facts about new Nats reliever Kelvin Herrera

Brian Tinsman
June 19, 2018 - 10:23 pm

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


Kelvin Herrera was traded for on Monday afternoon, flew to Washington on Monday night after the game, met his teammates on Tuesday afternoon and appeared in his first game on Tuesday night.

Perhaps its appropriate that he got his first action, a clean inning against the Baltimore Orioles, playing against an American League opponent, where he spent his entire career.

Either way, here are three things that will endear him to fans almost as much as having another flamethrower in the back end of the bullpen:

1. He Almost Wasn't Discovered: In December 2006, Herrera was one of an army of locals to try out for Kansas City Royals scouts in the Dominican Republic. The throwing sessions are a bit of a crap shoot, and require bona fide talent to stand out. Herrera did, but he almost got in his car and drove away before being flagged down by a frantic scout. The Kansas City Star has the story:

“‘Hey, there's a kid who's going to leave, he's getting in the car, but you guys need to see him,’” Rene Francisco told me he remembered in 2015. “So we walked out, and they were actually leaving in the car.”

Herrera was happy to oblige when asked to throw again, and about 10 pitches later Francisco stopped him and said, “You don't have to throw anymore."

He was signed shortly thereafter for about $15,000, and later recalled telling Royals scouts, “I will not make you guys look bad.”

2. Tears Were Shed When He Left Kansas City: "There's no crying in baseball" may not be quite true in KC. According to reports, manager Ned Yost was crying in the training room on Monday, which tipped his players off to the trade. Once finding out, many players got emotional. Herrera talked to KC reporters after the game and got misty-eyed talking about the city he was leaving behind. 

"This is a moment that I was not expecting," he said. "This is a moment that I never, like, want to see it."

If they weren't already, this caused many Royals fans to cry as well. That's a pretty emotional day.

3. He Clicks With Dave Martinez: The Nats really got a winner in Dave Martinez, who is able to connect with players at record pace. Herrera arrived with actual baggage and emotional baggage after the trade, but Martinez was quick to help him unpack the latter.

"He’s been there a long time," Martinez told the D.C. media on Tuesday. "I even told him the color red looks good on you. I know you’re used to blue. His winter ball team, I think, was red. I told him: ‘Just think of it as you’re playing on your winter ball team. You’ve got a different color on. And let’s move forward.'"

The message was well-received by Herrera, according to Martinez.

“I had a conversation with him today. He actually looked at me and said: ‘Wow, that’s a pretty good conversation. You’re telling me what my role is, and what I’m going to do and how you’re going to do things.'" Martinez relayed. "And the fact that it goes beyond that. I told him: ‘Hey, we do this every day. I’ll have a conversation with you every day and let you know what’s going on.’ I value communication a lot."


Sounds like things are off on the right foot for Herrera in Washington.


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