Friday, August 21, 2009

So Long, Livan

Livan Hernandez lost his job with the Mets on Thursday as the team activated former ace closer, Billy Wagner. And the weird thing about the news is that this writer is sad. Livan had become an event, a fine point of interest. No longer can we ponder if the pitcher will confound us with an unexpected gem of an outing or if he will be Livan, the batting practice pitcher. It was entertaining. But the truth of it is, the Mets probably got rid of the wrong pitcher.

The Mets dumped Livan after three bad starts in a row, but they kept Tim Redding, who will make a spot start to take Livan's place. Don't know about you, but that doesn't seem like a fair trade, even if you are going to see Livan take his lumps now and then. Let's compare the two pitchers:

  • Livan Hernandez: 7-8. 5.47 ERA in 23 starts. His 135 innings gave him an average of 5.87 innings per start. He had a WHIP of 1.593 and gave up 1.1 homers per nine innings. His strikeout to walk ratio was 1.47 and he had an ERA+ of 78.
  • Tim Redding: 1-4. 6.53 ERA in 9 starts and 13 relief appearances. His 9 starts averaged 5.24 innings per start. He has a WHIP of 1.647 and has given up 1.4 homers per nine innings. His strikeout to walk ration is 1.45 and has an ERA+ of 65.

Granted, neither one of them is fun for a manager, but it seems clear to this observer that if you have to get rid of somebody, that somebody would be the least effective guy. Redding has been considerably worse that Eisler Livan Carrera Hernandez.

The thing about Livan--and this is what made him so entertaining--is that he could be pretty amazing or he could be amazingly awful. In his seven wins, he had an ERA of 2.02 and a WHIP of 1.286. In his eight losses, his ERA was 10.21 with a WHIP of 2.319. Whoa! That's a lot of base runners. The point is that occasionally, he could be pretty good and was so seven times. Tim Redding can't give you that. He's never going to give you a good outing. Never. Ever.

But just you watch. Livan won't be dead yet. He will resurface somewhere. Some contender that is thin in starting pitching might pick him up and hope that he can throw a couple of good games in there. The Fan can see him in Los Angeles where he would be better than Jeff Weaver. The Fan can see him in Minnesota where he would be at least as good as Carl Pavano. No. Livan is not dead yet and thank goodness, we haven't seen the last of him.

The other side of this story is Billy Wagner. Wagner was supposed to miss the entire season with his surgery last August. But apparently he heals quickly and here he is. Yeah, he's 38 years old, but at 37 last year and with a dead arm, he still struck out 10 batters for every 9 innings. He pitched Thursday night. One inning, no hits, two strikeouts. But the Mets can't get rid of him fast enough. Jerry Manuel even said that he was going to "showcase" him for an inning and he did. Those were pretty good results. Hey, the Cubbies could use a closer. So could the Marlins. The Mets would have to eat the money, but hey, the guy looks like he can still pitch. 385 career saves anyone?

So, yeah, it was mixed emotions. It was good to see Billy Wagner. But the Fan is going to miss Livan. Long Live Livan! Hope somebody else picks him up so the entertainment can continue.


Steve G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve G. said...

I love Livan Hernandez. He's the closest thing to a pitching zombie. If I was running some godawful team, I would sign him, just because his arm is like rubber and he can (apparently) throw 250 pitches every start. Just have a special promotion, Livan Hernandez Complete Game Night, that promises he'll throw a complete game, even if it takes him 250 pitches.

William said...

I love that idea, Steve!