Duque the Closer
When Omar Minaya was talking about finding a “closer from within”, did he think the Mets still had Orlando Hernandez under contract?
From El Duque’s agent Greg Genske, as reported in Ken Davidoff’s excellent Baseball Insider:
Meanwhile, Genske said that another client of his, Orlando Hernandez, wants to keep pitching, after missing the entire season with the Mets. El Duque underwent surgery on his right foot in September and is rehabilitating.
Said Genske: “He wants to be a closer. He’s ready to go.”
Well that’s an out-of-the-box idea for a ninth-inning fireman: a 78-year-old soft-tosser who can’t stay healthy, with no closing experience, and coming off a season in which he didn’t throw a pitch. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.
That said, offer him a minor-league contract with hefty incentives. What have the Mets to lose? He may need to replace “Hernandez” with “Fragile” on the back of his jersey, but he’s a nice guy to have around — and the Mets have sunk millions in his rehab. Crazier things have happened. At worst you have an extra arm in AAA. I like the idea of keeping his brains in the organization and teaching things to the young guns. While his injuries have made his New York experience a disappointment, you can’t take away the fact that El Duque knows how to pitch — his problem is that his body won’t let him do it. And those who can’t, teach.