Most of the New York Mets off season predicated on fixing the leaky bullpen responsible for pulling the plug on their season in 2008.
They went out signed K-Rod and traded for J.J Putz. Bullpen—check.
After that, the Mets stabilized the middle of their rotation by signing Oliver Perez, after being spurned by Derek Lowe.
Middle of the rotation—check.
With those two areas fixed, the Mets turned their attention to the fifth spot in the rotation.
After signing Tim Redding during the winter, it was mostly presumed he would fill out the Mets rotation.
Then came Freddy Garcia’s minor league, incentive-laden contract. Throw in long shot Jonathan Neise and the Mets would need all of spring to sort out the logjam.
So it was an afterthought when Livan Hernandez, referred to as “inventory” by Omar Minaya, joined the fray in mid-February.
To say the odds were stacked against him, when he was behind the dark horse Neise on the depth chart, is an understatement.
Especially, when you factor in last season when he was 13-11 with a horrific 6.05 ERA while splitting time between Minnesota and Colorado.
The signing at the time seemed to speak more to the Mets lack of a viable option than an actual remedy.
Many fans still believe this to be the case as they waste good prayers for the return of Pedro Martinez.
So while Garcia and Redding were busy making proclamations that they were going to be the fifth starter, Livan Hernandez took a totally different approach—He actually pitched well.
Today, with opening day just 11 short days away, Freddy Garcia has accepted a minor league assignment, with Jonathan Neise right behind him.
Redding will not make the opening day roster due to a shoulder injury, and Hernandez is sitting on a 3.07 ERA in his 14 and 2/3 innings worked.
It’s still early and who knows what Hernandez’s ultimate fate will be, but for now, fifth spot in the Mets rotation—check.