The Fifth Starter Shall Be Livan

Mets fans can’t be pleased about this:

Omar Minaya referred to Livan Hernandez as “inventory” when the veteran pitcher signed on Feb. 14. Now, Hernandez is on the verge of claiming the No. 5 spot in the rotation, while team officials appear to be seriously weighing the release of pre-camp favorite Freddy Garcia.

Hernandez took a stranglehold on the fifth-starter’s role by limiting the Braves to one run on five hits while striking out three and walking none in a 58-pitch effort over five innings Wednesday. He ran his scoreless streak to eight innings before allowing an RBI single to Brandon Jones in the fifth in the Mets’ 7-4 loss.

Yeah, and he struckout 15 Braves in a playoff game in 1997. He had Eric Gregg then and has had the absence of the game’s best hitters to face him this spring. Neither mean that he’s someone a playoff contender wants in their rotation in 2009. If you don’t believe me, just ask Twins’ fans.

The guy has not been even average over the course of a season since 2005, and there’s no reason to believe that he will be this year. If this is the best the Mets can do, they’re going to have some trouble.

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  1. Sal Baxamusa said...

    Bonus points for the Elton John reference.  I’ve always wondered why that hasn’t become a meme that follows Livan wherever he goes.  Life can be so disappointing sometimes.

  2. APBA Guy said...

    In October, when we try to remember when and where it all went wrong for the Mets in 2009, we can look back at them buying two closers but not having a 5th starter. A fifth starter is expected to do 160 innings, hopefully at league average, but certainly in that neighborhood.

    Folks, Livan Hernandez was worse than Kenny Rogers last year. He provided his 180 innings at a sterling 6.05 ERA. Mets fans, when he leaves a start in the sixth inning you will have surrendered 4+ runs, on average. Tough to win when your team averaged around 3.5 runs after 6 innings.

  3. Detroit Michael said...

    Not that I want to be in the business of defending Livan Hernandez, but releasing Freddy Garcia isn’t that indefensible.  Over the last 2 years, he has averaged 36.5 IP with a 5.55 ERA and an average fastball velocity now below 89 mph.  Garcia isn’t the answer either.

    Thanks, Sal, for pointing out the Elton John reference:  I had missed it.

  4. YankeesfanLen said...

    This is the Mets we’re talking about here, and after all this sterling performance, they lost.
    Can they tune the CitiOrgan to “Rocket Man” too?

  5. Jeff Mathews said...

    Yeah, Livan Hernandez is a terrible pitcher, but most 5th starters are.  Hernandez has a CHONE projection for a 5.25 ERA, I believe, which is pretty average for a #5.  That doesn’t mean the Mets couldn’t try to do better than Hernandez, but who is both better and available? 

    Pedro?  He’s projected to be a bit better at 4.97, but I wouldn’t pay $5 mil guaranteed for 75 IP.  Niese would probably be a better choice, but he hasn’t really done anything to help himself this spring (6 ER in 8 IP).  He won’t crack the rotation because the Mets hate rookies.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    MOST LOSSES: Livan Hernandez (112), but Javier Vazquez is six back if Livan doesn’t find work.

    MOST HITS ALLOWED: Livan Hernandez (2,230), meaning Livan has given up 500 more hits in the ‘00s than Derek Jeter has gotten.

    MOST RUNS ALLOWED: Livan again (1,053), which means the only player in baseball who has scored more runs in the ‘00s than Hernandez has allowed is A-Rod (1,112).

  7. Rusty said...

    What a brilliant move by the Braves!

    Taking a dive against Livan Hernandez in a meaningless spring training game so that he wins a spot in the Mets’ rotation.

    Pure genius.

  8. Chris Jaffe said...

    “The guy has not been even average over the course of a season since 2005,”

    That’s not really fair.  He had an ERA+ of 95 in 2007.  That makes him an average starting pitcher. (Since relievers have better ERAs overall, an average starter ERA+ is 96). I guess you could claim that 95 is below 96, but that creates an absurdly small window for average performance.  (Not to mention it misses that 96.6% of his runs allowed were earned that year).

  9. Jason B said...

    Daniel, you’re older than me.  Do you still feel the pain?  Of the scars that won’t heal?

    Whatever…you’re a star in the face of the sky.

  10. Rudy Gamble said...

    We at Razzball are delighted with Livan getting the nod.  He was the most valuable pitcher in our league given his consistent awfulness.

    Am I the only that suspects the Mets/Minaya have a Latin bias?  At what point do they trade or refuse to sign Wright and Maine?  I’m shocked they picked up Putz…

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