On February 14, 2009, Livan Hernandez and the New York Mets got a little romantic. The team had already gone through the Orlando Hernandez experience a few years earlier with some success. This time, on a minor league deal with his hermano, there was a little more of a fight needed in order to have any sort of an impact on the team.
Hernandez won a starting rotation spot with the Mets. At the time, he was one of only three active MLB players to have a dozen seasons under their belt and zero trips to the disabled list. Could he continue this in New York?
A look back at the Mets free agent signing of Livan Hernandez in 2009
Hernandez didn’t get off to a great start. In four April starts he was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Things turned around in the best way over the next two months. He was 3-0 in May with a 2.70 ERA. In June, Hernandez went 1-2 with a 3.69 ERA.
It was in July when things came apart. Hernandez was 2-2 with a 7.33 ERA. On an underachieving Mets team, time was running out for him to turn things around.
Hernandez would make three starts for New York in August. He lost each one. The San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Francisco Giants each had their way with him. On August 20, the Mets released him.
Hernandez signed with the Washington Nationals a few days later. Things weren’t much better. Combined, he went on to go 9-12 with a 5.44 ERA. With the Mets, he was 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA.
The 70-92 Mets opened up Citi Field with lots of excitement. It was a powerless club with Daniel Murphy leading the way with only 12 home runs. Back when the outfield dimensions did no one any favors, Hernandez was one of several starting pitchers on the team who didn’t find a way to benefit from it.
Hernandez, Mike Pelfrey, and Tim Redding each had 17+ starts and over 100 innings of work and an ERA over 5.00. Oliver Perez, in his 14 appearances, gave the Mets his 6.82 ERA performance.
A minor Valentine’s Day signing by the ball club seemed like it could’ve gone better. On June 7, Hernandez pitched seven shutout innings against the Nationals. He won the game and was sitting nicely with a 5-1 record and 3.88 ERA. Thereafter, things began to spin a little more out of control. By the time school ended and air conditioners were running 24/7, it became clear that it was time to end the carnage.