Tom Glavine’s Replacement

So the latest rumor — straight from the oft-unreliable Tracy Ringolsby — is that Livan Hernandez is “close” to signing with the Mets.

If it’s true, I’m fine with it — Livan is the guy who can replace Tom Glavine’s 200 innings and be a quality postseason performer. Even if the Mets do pull off a Johan Santana trade, Livan’s presence will make the loss of arms going the other way that much easier. In fact, getting Livan locked up might move the Mets to add Oliver Perez or John Maine to the Santana deal. Personally, that’s not what I want to see — I’ve grown very fond of both youngsters — but you have to give up something to get something, and the Twins need to receive a valid MLB player in any deal for Johan.

We’ve felt since November that Livan would be in orange and blue, and there haven’t been too many other teams kicking the tires on him. He may reunite with half-brother Orlando after all.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude January 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm
    As we’ve learned this offseason, when validating rumors one must always consider the source. That has caused us to not trust Sweeney Murti whatsoever (Erik Bedard close to being traded to the Mets), and caused us to be very skeptical of all things coming from the direction of Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, or anybody affiliated with ESPN. In fact, as should be no surprise, the most reliable sources this winter are writers whose job is to strictly cover the Mets, like Adam Rubin and Mark Hale. This understanding, then, leaves me to be highly skeptical of this Livan Hernandez piece of news, because 1) Tracy Ringolsby is not the most reliable source of facts, and 2) He’s a writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, so what inside knowledge could he possibly have of the Mets’ or Livan Hernandez’ plans that the NY papers aren’t already reporting? A more in-depth look at his article shows that Ringolsby doesn’t even name a source himself, whether it be “officials with knowledge of the situation” or “an anonymous Mets employee engaged in contract talks.” He just says Livan is close to a deal. For all we know, it could be as close as a Johan Santana deal.

    Anyway, if we accept the rumor as credible, I would hope Livan’s signing came only after we were 1000% positive that Santana would not be traded to us. Because, as you said Joe, Livan becomes our 5th starter in 2008, meaning either someone else from the rotation gets traded to make room for Santana, or Omar has given up trying to find the “big arm.” There is a slight possibility El Duque could be shifted to the bullpen to accommodate Livan and Johan, but that’s likely a last resort. More than likely, if a current member of the rotation is traded to Minnesota, it’s either Maine or Ollie, as well as possibly Pelfrey. And I tend to think it’s more Maine than Ollie, as Maine is locked up through 2011 while Perez is a free agent after this season. Thus, there are many combinations of how the Mets rotation could look like if Livan is signed and Johan is traded for, with the two most extreme examples being:
    1 – Johan, Pedro, Ollie, Duque, Livan; or
    2 – Pedro, Maine, Ollie, Duque, Pelfrey
    Obviously the first one looks a bit more fearsome (and a lot more hispanic, right up Omar’s alley), but at what cost would it be to our future – especially if Johan is NOT signed to a contract extension? I would have to imagine that any trade that included Maine exiting to Minnesota would not include Gomez OR F-Mart, because I think that is WAY too much to give up in a trade for just one player in return. I would say something more like Maine, Church, Humber would be more sufficient, with the Mets then using a platoon system in RF with Chavez and Pagan, or signing Shawn Green or Kevin Mench.

    I guess it all depends on whether Omar thinks that the Twins are not backing down of their F-Mart & Gomez demands, or if he thinks, no matter what the package, the Mets have no shot at obtaining Johan. Because, other than those two scenarios, I don’t see any other intelligent reason why a Livan signing would make a ton of sense. Replacing Glavine’s innings or not, there’s gotta come a point in time where the Mets are going to make Pelfrey prove he can be a major league starting pitcher. And if all we’re expecting out of Livan is a 5.00 ERA and 10 wins, can’t we just live with Pelfrey as our #5 starter without the big contract and 25-man roster guarantee? Could he not put up those same statistics if given 25+ starts?

    Still, I believe this “buzz” to be untrue, and we’ll once again be talking about 5th starter options this time tomorrow.

  2. Walnutz15 January 25, 2008 at 12:51 pm
    In fairness to Ringolsby — he is a Hall of Fame journalist, enshring in Cooperstown.

    While I’m not going to claim to know every piece he’s written or speculated about….do we have any other examples of this guy being unreliable?

    I felt the same way in initially reading this one-sentence blurb out of a Colorado-based newspaper. However, in checking his credentials…..Ringolsby’s resume speaks to me that he has nothing to gain by passing along a false story associated with the Mets — writing in the middle of the Rockie Mountains.

    What’s up fellas, TGIF!

  3. joe January 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm
    Ringolsby has a tremendous resume and is a good writer. But I think his strength is as a columnist providing his viewpoint and as a reporter summing the facts — but that doesn’t necessarily make him trustworthy when it comes to published rumors and other hearsay.

    Bad on me, I was supposed to keep track of the Buzz Baloney but didn’t. Off the top of my head I can’t specify anything in particular, but I’m certain there were at least two or three crazy rumors started by Ringolsby this offseason. If I get bored this weekend I’ll hunt them down — or if anyone else can find them, please comment.

    TGIF indeed … happy hour coming soon ….

  4. sincekindergarten January 25, 2008 at 5:55 pm
    Joe, I’ve carved through almost half of a Sam Adams 12-pack while watching this soap opera today. ($2 cheaper per 12-pack than Blue Moon.) Yes, playing Mr. Mom for my daughter has played heavily into this. I don’t know who the deuce to trust anymore on the rumors that you and Matt bring to your respective sites. I do know enough to not blame the messenger (thank God it’s not Randy!) on the rumors being out there. There’s some salt mines out near Rochester (supposedly), and I’ve got a huge grain from one of them to handle the rumors with.

    (Anybody follow that?)

    But, nearer to the point, I’m thinking that the possibility of bringing Livan into ST is to light a fire under Ollie, Maine, and Pelfrey–as well as El Duque. I’m also thinking that, if the Santana trade actually does go through, that Pelf stays in N’awlins to start the year, and come up when El Deadguy’s inevitable breakdown occurs. Livan will give us 200 innings–but how clean will those innings be?

  5. joe January 25, 2008 at 8:36 pm
    I like the idea of Livan for many reasons — the inevitable El Duque breakdown chief among them. And of course El Duque is not the only one who will go down over the 162-game marathon; most likely, at least one or more of the others will spend some time on the DL and/or miss some starts here and there. Yes, Livan’s 200 IP may not be extraordinary, but they’ll be a huge shot in the arm coming from the back end of the rotation.

    I feel a lot better about the Mets chances knowing that the #5 starter is Livan, leaving PLENTY of young depth in AAA, rather than wondering if any of those youngsters can handle the fifth spot at the ML level for a full season.

  6. skibolton January 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm
    If we do sign livan, I can only hope it’s to a 1 year deal. I just don’t want to see the team bogged down into a long term commitment. I do like the idea of having either livan or lohse on a 1 year deal, johan or no johan. I think the added depth will let pelfrey develop more at AAA, and maybe help with that slider and changeup. At this point, I think I’m more concerned with locking Ollie up long term than signing a guy like livan for the next two or three years.
  7. isuzudude January 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm
  8. Micalpalyn January 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm
    Out of frustration i will enter this discusion:

    Not since Vlad was traded has there been such a long drawn out process involving a met trade.

    Interestingly, the media has ‘begun’ hyping Fmart. Yes he was a heralded talent when he was signed, but now we are hearing accolades like, a hitting machine’ could make the majors this year, …..

    Cerrone has long announced he feels Church was actually traded for as a piece of a potential package. We also now hear Heilman could be a part of the deal. Anything BUT Fmart and Gomez.

    It’ll be interesting once the dust settles/dominoes have fallen……

  9. skibolton January 28, 2008 at 4:26 pm
    The phils have just signed pedro feliz
  10. isuzudude January 28, 2008 at 5:00 pm
    A right-handed version of Geoff Jenkins. I’m thinking it’s going to be a tad bit windy in Philadelphia this summer.