he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Orlando Hernandez returns to New Yorkh

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Orlando Hernandez returns to New York

Orlando Hernandez, commonly referred to as El Duque, was acquired by the Mets today through trade. Jorge Julio and his 14.1 k/per 9 was sent to Arizona for the former Yankee star. Hernandez now joins Alay Soler as the only Cubans on the Mets major league roster, while still providing leadership in a role that Jorge Julio was unable to fulfill. El Duque has had only one full season in the majors during his eight year career, and that season came in 1999, only his second year in the majors. "The Duke" has a career 4.20 era, however over the past two seasons the "36" year old has a 5.62 era pitching in the bandbox in Arizona and the "slight hitters park" in Chicago. El Duque changes his arm angle and throws multiple pitches, however his quirky delivery is difficult to repeat. Baseball Prospectus said before the season that Hernandez could be a valuable set-up man for a good team due to his weird delivery and differentiating stuff. Does this mean that El Duque was acquired to be in the bullpen, and for Heilman to go into the rotation? Right now it does not seem likely, but keep it in the back of your mind. Hernandez has been injury prone throughout his entire career, in fact two starts ago Hernandez left after throwing two innings with a mid-back strain and he may have injured his right knee as well. Although, it did not effect his last start, when he threw seven innings of one run ball with nine strikeouts. In five of Hernandez's nine starts he has allowed three runs or less, however in the other starts he has allowed at least five runs and he allowed six runs twice. I'll have to see if going back to New York energizes the Duke, but right now I like the trade, but I'm not in love with the idea of trading for a "36" year old injury prone pitcher.

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