The 39-year-old Hernandez pitched for nine different MLB franchises over the course of 17 big league seasons. The Cuban native had not pitched in the majors since 2012 with the Braves and Brewers, but had been participating in spring training for the Nationals this season as a pitching instructor.
"This is the right time to do it," Hernandez told Ladson on Wednesday. "I had a lot of stuff on my mind. I was going to wait for the right time."
Hernandez made his major league debut with the Marlins back in 1996 and impressed mightily during his rookie campaign a year later. The right-hander finished with a 3.18 ERA in 1997, coming in second place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting that season. He would go on to pitch two more seasons for the Marlins before being traded to the Giants.
The 17-year veteran will likely be best remembered for his postseason performances, including a 15-strikeout outing against the Braves in the 1997 NLCS that was famously aided by a rather large strike zone from umpire Eric Gregg. Hernandez struck out 15 Braves batters in a complete game victory, allowing one earned run on three hits and out-dueling Greg Maddux in the process.
He would go on to win the NLCS MVP, and the Marlins would capture the World Series against the Indians later that postseason, with Hernandez winning two games in against Cleveland to help lead the Marlins to victory.
Hernandez pitched for parts of four seasons in San Francisco, but had his best years as a member of the Expos and Nationals, to whom he was traded in the 2003 offseason. At the age of 29, Hernandez made the NL All-Star team in 2004 while with the Expos and earned a second-straight trip to the All-Star Game in 2005 after the Expos moved to Washington D.C. In those two seasons, Hernandez compiled a 3.79 ERA over 501.1 innings, earning a reputation as a dependable and durable workhorse.
The Nationals traded Hernandez to the Diamondbacks in 2006, and the right-hander would also pitch for the Mets, Rockies, and Twins before returning to the Nationals for three more seasons in 2009. Although Hernandez was no longer the pitcher he had been earlier in his career, he still remained a durable option for Washington, posting a 3.66 ERA in 211⅔ innings in 2010.
Hernandez concluded his career with the Braves and Brewers in 2012. While the Cuban native was never the best pitcher in the majors during his career, he was remarkably consistent and rarely injured. Hernandez finished his MLB career with a lifetime 4.44 ERA, 1,976 strikeouts, and over 3,000 innings pitched.
Hernandez has not yet announced what he will be doing after spring training, though a continued relationship with the Nationals in some type of coaching capacity appears likely.