The Houston Astros aren't exactly starved for pitching. They still have Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris, who are both fine pitchers. They have wunderkind Jordan Lyles fighting for a full-time gig. Kyle Weiland, last September aside, is probably a good option for a team in the Astros' position, as his minor-league stats indicate some potential. J.A. Happ ... pronounces his name "Jay", which is certainly something.
But it still has to sting a little when a team that lost more than 100 games last year -- and could do so again this year -- releases you. So it goes for Livan Hernandez:
Astros have released Livan Hernandez.— Zachary Levine (@zacharylevine) March 30, 2012
I'd like to think that the Astros invited him to camp and something like this happened:
Coach: I'm not making it up. 82 miles per hour.
: That can't be.
Coach: I replaced the batteries in the gun and everything.
Mills: Did you know about this Jeff?
Jeff Luhnow: No, he threw 91 last year, I swear. Unless ... dammit.
Luhnow: I did it again. I went to an old bookmark by accident. Went to angelfire.com/fangraphs instead of just FanGraphs. It's an old site with velocity readings that hasn't been updated since 1999 ... dammit. I don't know why I just don't delete this bookmark. Look at this thing.
Coach: Hey, that little animated picture of the construction worker holding up a 'Under Construction' sign is cute!
Yes, Livan Hernandez's fastball averaged 83.6 miles per hour last year, and here we are making fun of Jamie Moyer like a bunch of jerks. But Livan was still moderately effective last year -- his FIP last year was 3.96! Hernandez pitches about a century behind today's game, but he's been pretty effective since joining the Nationals in 2010.
But if the Astros don't want you, well, there probably aren't a whole lot of options. You never know what injuries will pop up early in the season, so Livan might not be done. But the odds of him being in a major-league rotation just went way, way down. And it's kind of a shame, really. There are a lot of guys pitching in the majors, but there isn't anyone who does it quite like Livan Hernandez these days, for better or for worse.