Livan Hernandez: Your Perfect Fifth Starter

Benjamin upchurchContributor IIFebruary 20, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 09:  Livan Hernandez #61 of the New York Mets pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 9, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Livan Hernandez is a good answer to any team that does not have a clue who will fill the role as 5th starter.

Now I know everyone's initial response to Livan is that he's past his prime, and he sucks. I'll agree Livan does not have stellar stuff.

My question is what exactly are you looking for in a 5th starter? 

It's not like you can clone Roy Halladay, or some other ace, five times to fill your ranks —unless your one of the few select teams with a farm system like Atlanta. You can't grab a few rookies and expect them to run with it. So who ever it is, they will not be the pick of the litter.  

For a fifth starter you only need to excel in two things: games started and innings pitched. That means your bullpen will be able to rest more. Your team will not have to run around in the middle of the season looking for a replacement because he's injured.

Well Livan has a great track record as a workhorse.  Since 98 he's made 30 or more starts.  As a full season starter he has never failed to pitch at least 180 innings. For most teams they are happy if their fifth starter gets anywhere close to that.

All of a sudden Livan doesn't look so bad.

To sweeten the pot Livan comes at a cheap price.  Oakland paid 10 mill for Ben Sheets and they do not know if he'll even make all his starts.  Florida is shelling out a lot of money to Josh Johnson who's only completed one season.  So for a small fraction of the amount for either of those guys, you get a guy who'll actually pitch the entire season.

This analysis doesn't say that Livan will be your go to guy down the stretch.  What it does say, is that Hernandez can still fill a needed role for anyone that's willing to sign him.




Here's a some Teams that actually need Livan.

Florida - It would give them an actual third starter

Nationals - Take a note from the Braves last year.  Veterans that eat up innings give a little more protection to your upcoming hot shots.

Mets - They just need someone to finish the season besides Pelfrey. Why they let him go in August beats me? At that point they just needed someone who could start.

Reds - Same deal as the Nationals.

Dodgers - You have Joe Torre without the limiters the Yankees put on him. For further examples look at the Cardinals and the Braves during his tenure.  Billingsley will never be the same.

Teams that just need a starter that can go long

Milwaukee, Padres, Anyone in the AL besides the Mariners, Yankees, and Red Sox.