I think the instinctive response to the name "Livan Hernandez" is a little unfair to Livan Hernandez. He's 37, yes, and he's fat, and he doesn't get strikeouts, and he throws all slow-like, but he's actually still somewhat effective. He has a 98 ERA+ over the last two seasons. He has a 90 ERA+ over the last three seasons, and an 84 ERA+ over the last four seasons, but we care more about recency, and Livan isn't a disaster.
Which is why Talking Chop is okay with his signing with the Atlanta Braves:
My personal opinion is that I like the move. It's a very Braves move for a long-admired player and adversary who has always been a fighter on the mound, even if his current repertoire of pitches is Slow And Slower. Call Neikro and sit him down with Livan, maybe he could begin a second career that stretches into his 40s. At least if we have to watch our fifth starter get blown up, I'd rather it be Livan than Delgado or Teheran before they're ready. The Braves are trying to win now, so they don't have the luxury of letting the kids take their lumps to begin the season ... they tried that last year at the end of the season, and it didn't work so well.
Interestingly, it looked like the Braves were signing Livan because they weren't sold on Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado for the fifth slot yet. That might not be the case:
#Braves signed Livan Hernandez to major league contract, will use as long reliever/spot starter. Doesn't affect 5th starter battle.— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) March 30, 2012
Livan Hernandez might not be going into the rotation after all. He might just be signing as depth. But for depth, you could do worse than Livan Hernandez, and if he's no longer needed once Tim Hudson is healthy and some of the younger guys establish themselves, he's not a hard guy to drop. If Livan can handle the indignity of being cut by the Astros, he can handle being cut by the Braves.