The Minnesota Twins are really loaded with talent, but does it really make sense to release Livan Hernandez, their opening day starter? Now Hernandez gets to pitch for the Rock boys in their pursuit of the division crown (well, it looks like the Dodgers will win that, anyway).
In recent years, funny things have happened to opening day starters around the league, and this is one of them. Brett Myers of the Phillies was the opening day starter in 2007, and ended up being their closer for most of the year—doesn't make a whole lot of sense, folks! In the process, the Phillies realized Myers is better at being a reliever, and yet now Myers is somehow in their rotation after a Double-A stint...what is going on here?
It's easy to say there is a shortage of good available starting pitchers throughout the league. When the most coveted pitchers at the trade deadline are Jarrod Washburn, Joe Blanton, Eric Bedard, Zach Grienke, Jeff Francis and Jose Mesa (well, he's not in the league anymore, actually), then something is wrong with the pitching market.
What's the problem, you ask? Not enough arms out there. So the Rockies needed a guy and they got him; his name is Livan. The Twins are loaded with young starting pitchers, and it was either make Hernandez a relief pitcher or release him—what's the right call here? Hernandez has had a decent year, even though he's giving up a lot of walks and hits. Maybe if he were pitching a little better, the Twins would have kept the old guy, but Hernandez is getting old and his good years are over with.
It's easy for me, and many people out there, to root for the Twins because they are one of the best organizations in terms of scouting and developing a farm system, so sticking with Hernandez over young flamethrower Francisco Liriano was not really going to make much sense, either, roster-wise. There's just not enough space on the roster.
The Twins now have an awesome, youth-filled rotation—Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins, Liriano, Scott Baker, and Kevin Slowey. If you don't know any of those guys yet, get to know them—come playoff time, you will probably see them hanging around.
So have fun in Colorado, Livan, and win one for the gipper, or win one for your cousin El Duque...how old is that guy, anyway, like 83?