Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals pitches to Brett Wallace of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Astros won in the bottom of the 11th 3 to 2.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Livan Hernandez and the Houston Astros parted ways on Friday.
The Houston Astros aren't exactly starved for pitching. They still have Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris, who are both fine pitchers. They have wunderkind Jordan Lyles fighting for a full-time gig. Kyle Weiland, last September aside, is probably a good option for a team in the Astros' position, as his minor-league stats indicate some potential. J.A. Happ ... pronounces his name "Jay", which is certainly something.
But it still has to sting a little when a team that lost more than 100 games last year -- and could do so again this year -- releases you. So it goes for Livan Hernandez:
Astros have released Livan Hernandez.— Zachary Levine (@zacharylevine) March 30, 2012
I'd like to think that the Astros invited him to camp and something like this happened:
Coach: I'm not making it up. 82 miles per hour.
: That can't be.
Coach: I replaced the batteries in the gun and everything.
Mills: Did you know about this Jeff?
Jeff Luhnow: No, he threw 91 last year, I swear. Unless ... dammit.
Luhnow: I did it again. I went to an old bookmark by accident. Went to angelfire.com/fangraphs instead of just FanGraphs. It's an old site with velocity readings that hasn't been updated since 1999 ... dammit. I don't know why I just don't delete this bookmark. Look at this thing.
Coach: Hey, that little animated picture of the construction worker holding up a 'Under Construction' sign is cute!
Yes, Livan Hernandez's fastball averaged 83.6 miles per hour last year, and here we are making fun of Jamie Moyer like a bunch of jerks. But Livan was still moderately effective last year -- his FIP last year was 3.96! Hernandez pitches about a century behind today's game, but he's been pretty effective since joining the Nationals in 2010.
But if the Astros don't want you, well, there probably aren't a whole lot of options. You never know what injuries will pop up early in the season, so Livan might not be done. But the odds of him being in a major-league rotation just went way, way down. And it's kind of a shame, really. There are a lot of guys pitching in the majors, but there isn't anyone who does it quite like Livan Hernandez these days, for better or for worse.