Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trade Watch 2011: Livan Hernandez

As we discussed earlier in the Jason Marquis Trade Watch there are three things that playoff contenders look for when trying to get pitching help for the stretch drive...
1 - Veteran? Livo is now in his 16th MLB season.
2 - Contract Year? Livo is perennially working on a 1 year contract it seems - signed last year.
3 - Proven Winner? Has won 10+ games 11 times, and has a World Series MVP under his belt.

All those things aside, Livan is having another solid year where his ERA, WHIP, FIP, and K/9 are all better than his career totals.

Livan Hernandez is one of those sentimental players for the Nats. He was the starter for the Nationals' first ever game. He was there that whole 2005 magical year. He came back in 2009 and has experienced a career resurgence. It would definitely be tough to see him head back out of town.

As much as Livo has been a key part of the Nationals past he is that much not a part of the Nats' future. It's clear that the team is going to be fully reloaded with next year's rotation with Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Lannan having already locked up spots. With Wang, Peacock, Detwiler, and Milone all in the mix as well it is pretty clear that Livo doesn't fit in the long-term plan.

I'm not sure what the trade market is for someone like Livan, but if Rizzo is able to get anything of value in return for the veteran he needs to make that move. There is always a market for veteran starting pitching this time of year, its just a matter of pulling the trigger.

Well, CapBallers, what are your thoughts on trading Livan Hernandez?


  1. To quote the late Redskins coach George Allen, "The future is now."

    True, when Livan has an off-night, it can be ugly. But there's a difference between theoretical wins in future years and actual wins now. Livan Hernandez goes out there and most of the time gives his team a chance for a real, live, tangible win.

    Sure we've got some guys who are the future. Just like Jack McGeary and Josh Smoker were once the future, and Adam Loewen and Daniel Cabrera were the O's future. And Cole Kimball was the future about five weeks ago.

    Livan, on the other hand, is a proven commodity. He has a rubber arm; he's a good mentor for the youngsters; and he's a colorful fan favorite. It just doesn't make sense to kick him to the curb right now.

  2. Nick

    The future is not now. It's definitely in the future. The Nats are in last place. They are being carried by their young players, not their old ones. They have several pieces in the minors. The chance that they sign Livan to an extension with 3 better, younger pitchers knocking at the door is somewhere in between pigs flying and toast browning itself. If they can trade him and get more value than a sandwhich pick (I'm guessing Livan will be type B), then they should.

    You're right that future guys are not sure things in the way that proven vets are sure things. But when it's also a sure thing that you're not making the playoffs this year and not inviting a player back next year, then it's time to let go.

  3. Younger, yes, but better? Peacock and Milone have never thrown a big league pitch. Detwiler deserves his shot, but he's getting close to "You're the future of the Nats, and you always will be" status.

    And who's to say they certainly won't invite Livan back next year? He's 36 (we assume), he's a cheap insurance policy, and he seems to like Washington. Considering that there's still rotation spots open after Strasburg, J-Zimm, and presumably Lannan, I say run Livo out there like Jamie Moyer until he burns out or until Detwiler/whoever really earns it.

  4. I agree that it's certainly a good thing to have quality, well-travelled vets at the bottom of your rotation, whether you are looking to make a run at the championship or not. In a world where the Nats can't get good trade value for Livan or at least a compensatory pick, I wouldn't be against giving him a one-year extension. He's only making 1M this year and probably won't make much more next year.

    But at this point, assuming he does sign an extension, I think the chances he's worth giving a starting spot are well below 50%. There's Wang, Detwiler, Peacock, and Milone all competing with him for two starting spots, and this is assuming no Marquis, Gorzelanny, and no SP additions either this week or in the off-season. Even if he proves marginally better than Detwiler/Peacock/Milone, that spot is still probably better off given to the younger player, as I don't see the Nats making a serious run until 2013.

    But I still see your point. Any rotation with Livan at #5 ain't bad. I'd just rather take chances with younger players at this stage in the Nats' development.