Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Luis Hernandez, 2007 Topps '52 Rookies Chrome Refractor #TCRC3
You probably also remember the Birds trading Tejada to the Astros the following winter for five younger players, most notably Luke Scott. With the upper levels of the farm system devoid of middle infielders, Luis Luis was named the starter at short and performed...closer to his minor league track record. That is to say, not at all. Notwithstanding an April 6 walk-off single that sent Birdland into hysterics, his batting line was an Izturisian .241/.295/.253 in 91 trips to the plate. He also looked much shakier in the field, and the Orioles had seen enough by Memorial Day. He was shipped back to Norfolk, never to return. The Birds finished the year with a rotating horrorshow that included Juan Castro, Alex Cintron, Freddie Bynum, and Brandon Fahey. Eider Torres chipped in for 18 innings, and Melvin Mora and Oscar Salazar had single-inning cameos because why the hell not? The O's were so desperate to plug that hole at shortstop that they went out and signed the aforementioned Cesar Izturis (career OPS+ of 64, career AVG/OBP/SLG of .256/.296/.323). Now Izzy won't go away. Thanks a bunch, Luis.
Anycrap, Luis has drifted from place to place in pro ball since 2002. In nine minor league seasons, he has a rousing line of .255/.302/.331. In parts of four big league seasons (he spent time with the Royals in 2009 and the Mets last year), he's an even grodier .245/.286/.298. He's in camp with the Mets again this year, and there's been a shakeup at the top. Sandy Alderson, who mentored current A's GM Billy Beane, is calling the shots personnel-wise. He hired former Astros and Angels manager Terry Collins to replace deposed skipper Jerry Manuel. In spite of the club's reputation as big spenders, and Alderson's record as a keen judge of talent, second base for the Mets looks as ugly as shortstop did for the Orioles in 2008. Daniel Murphy, the aging and costly Luis Castillo, Rule V pickup Brad Emaus, and former O's infielder Justin Turner are the usual suspects. But there is a dark horse emerging, according to Collins. And that player is...
Seriously: "Let's not forget we have one guy who can absolutely play there," Collins said recently. "And that's Luis Hernandez."
Sure, if you go on to read the article, the impression is that the manager actually has very little say and could very well have been throwing mud at the wall to see if it would stick. But the idea that he would even entertain the notion...let's just say that I'm glad those words didn't have to come from Buck Showalter's mouth.