Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The end of an era...

Luis Hernandez was designated for assignment yesterday to make room for starting pitcher Radhames Liz, bringing with it the end of an era for the Baltimore Orioles.

Luis Hernandez played in 66 games with the Orioles from 2007-2008. His career OPS as an Oriole was .601.

Hernandez came from the tomato and onion fields of Quibor, Venezuela with a baseball glove and a dream of one day playing in the major leagues.

His career stats are astounding...

39 Career Hits
1 Home Run
3 Doubles
10 RBI

His hard-nosed play in the field was thing of beauty to watch.

Insert the sound of a needle scratching across a record.

OK, so I'm being sarcastic.

Luis Hernandez will go down in O's history along with Carlos Mendez and Luis Lopez as meaningless players who will live in infamy.

But never has such a weak player (Luis Hernandez was a mid-500 OPS hitter in AA ball) been given a starting position by a major league team to start a season.

Luis was the cause for much debate over at the Orioles Hangout, where several posters instantly fell in love with Hernandez's solid defense when Miguel Tejada went down with an injury. They also tried to draw the conclusion that Hernandez was the reason for the O's winning when Tejada was on the DL.

Others looked at Hernandez's stats, which were quite simply pathetic, and wondered aloud and often how such a terrible player could be given such a huge benefit of the doubt by others.

And when the 2007-2008 offseason ended without GM Andy MacPhail finding a better option at SS, Luis Hernandez was given the starting job to enter the 2008 season.

Turns out, Hernandez's defense wasn't as great as initially thought, as his range was diminished and his erratic mechanics caused him to throw balls to first base into the dirt. Rumors of Luis showing up to spring training 25 pounds over weight also surfaced.

At the plate, Hernandez was a tad more patient than he had been in 2007, but overall, it seemed like he was swinging a toothpick.

And when MacPhail realized that Hernandez was who fans knew he was all along, he signed Alex Cintron and removed Luis Hernandez from the starting line-up when Freddie Bynum came off the DL.

One thing is for sure, neither Cintron or Bynum is the answer at SS, but Hernandez wasn't either, and Cintron and Bynum are both slightly better all-around players than Hernandez, who was a "defensive specialist" with average defense.

Now that he has been DFA'd, Hernandez will probably clear waivers and report to Norfolk to continue his minor league career. And to his credit, Hernandez was never a good player, but he did play the game hard. But if he did show up to spring training over weight, one has to wonder what he was thinking, since he was basically being handed a position he didn't deserve, and should have taken advantage of it.

In the end, Luis Hernandez means nothing in the grand scheme of things. But he was the subject for much debate, and now that he's gone, I think I'll kind of miss him.

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