Twins Should be Leaving Livan

July 29, 2008 at 10:20 am 7 comments

(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Minnesota Twins stand just 1.5 games out of first in the AL Central and 2 games out of the Wild Card. They are serious playoff contenders especially in the Central where the White Sox are in first and I just can’t picture them in the playoffs. But, if the Twins are serious about being a playoff team they need to do what is right and cut loose Livan Hernandez and bring up Francisco Liriano.

Livan Hernandez signed a 1yr $5M deal in the offseason and off the bat I hailed it as a waste of $5M and a roster spot. Livan has proven me right. He is ranked 42nd out of 46 qualifiers in the AL and 87th out of 97 in the majors in ERA with his 5.31 showing. His 190 hits allowed are the most in the majors by a mile. The 2nd most hits allowed is 158. Sure he has a 10-7 record and eats innings but records mean close to squat and the innings he’s eaten have been awful innings. His 88 runs and 88 earned runs allowed are also tops in the majors.

Livan’s K/9 of 3.52 is 2nd worst (102 out of 103) in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. His WHIP of 1.60 ranks 92 out of 97 among qualifiers in the majors. His opponents AVG is .336, easily the worst in the majors.

It’s apparent what I’m trying to say here: Livan does not belong on a contender and I would venture to say that he doesn’t belong on a non-contender either. He is that bad. And the fact that the Twins are struggling with who to drop from the rotation to make room for Liriano if/when they call him up is just mind numbing.

Liriano, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is dominating Triple-A to the tune of a 10-2 record with a 3.28 ERA and 113/31 K/BB in 118 innings pitched and only 102 hits allowed. Over his past 10 games he is 9-0 with a 2.51 ERA and a 73/9 K/BB in 64.2 innings and 56 hits allowed.

Liriano is the ace of this staff when healthy and his time in the minors (20 starts) has proven he can stay healthy. I can’t fathom any reason why he is still in Triple-A other than financial reasons (Livan’s salary and Liriano’s arbitration clock). He needs to be brought up for his next start before Livan can do any more damage.

The rest of the rotation is looking very solid. Scott Baker is the ace right now. He is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 96 innings and a 81/18 K/BB rate. Kevin Slowey is 7-7 with a 4.00 ERA in 96.2 innings with a 69/16 K/BB rate. Glen Perkins is 7-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 90.1 innings with a 46/23 K/BB rate. And Nick Blackburn is 7-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 127.0 innings pitched with a 68/19 K/BB rate.

The addition of Liriano and the subtraction of Livan would be a huge relief on the Twin’s defense that must be tired chasing balls down that Livan allowed in play. It would also make a very good playoff rotation that could compete in any short series. The only thing is the Twins need to make this move right away before they miss their ride to the AL Central crown.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. supremesportsjustice  |  July 29, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Agreed! Hernandez is toast.

  • 2. Charlie Nehl  |  July 30, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Pretty much anybody is a better option then Hernandez… especially in the ‘ace’ hole. Sure he’s putting some wins. It is a little deseaving though. He’s the sort of guy that give up 6 in the first two innings and then settle down for the next 5 of his outing. Still very far from a quality start, but you get the point.

    Where the heck is Liriano?

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 30, 2008 at 7:04 am

    I really don’t know why he’s in Triple-A still. It has to be a money issue right? Trying to keep his arb clock from ticking.

  • 4. Rachel  |  July 30, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Hopefully tonight is Hernandez’s last start

  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 30, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Hopefully he is cut before the start.

  • 6. Reid  |  August 5, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Didn’t realize how bad Livan was sucking it up. At least you finally got your wish.

  • 7. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  August 5, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Thanks Reid! And every Twins fan should rejoice.


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