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Hernandez Struggling

baltimore orioles shortstop Luis HernandezJeff Zrebiec is on the line at WBAL right now, talking about (among other things) how Luis Hernandez has looked bad so far this spring. Zrebiec speculates that the Orioles might look for a veteran infielder to fill the starting SS spot, relegating Luis to a utility role. Peter Schmuck also has more on Hernandez’s struggles in his latest piece, but I don’t like to link Schmuck.

With no other major league-ready shortstop in the organization (I’m not counting Brandon Fahey), we are in deep if Hernandez is so bad that he can’t go north as the starter.

I’m OK with signing a veteran under those circumstances. That wouldn’t be a situation where we’re blocking a younger player or soaking up a roster spot. Somebody has to play shortstop, and we’re just woefully thin at that position. There are worse things than bringing someone in on a one-year deal.

That said, my hunch is that Hernandez will be fine. Maybe not particularly good, but fine.

On the pitching side, there’s been talk that the O’s have interest in free agent Kyle Lohse (career 63-74, 4.82) to fill the role of fifth starter. Ahead of Albers, Penn, etc.

This smacks of Scott Boras gamesmanship, and I’m confident there’s virtually zero chance Lohse ends up here. Unless, of course, Steve Trachsel gets cut and Lohse comes in to fill the “veteran presence” role. That’d be a wash.

Notes

Speaking of Penn, he seems to be staking a case for the fifth spot.

Sidney Ponson has landed (beached himself?) in Texas.

What the hell is this?

There’s speculation that Orioles rebuilding process will feature Sherrill as a closer. And if he does well, look for the Orioles to flip Sherrill for more young talent after the All-Star break.

OK…

23 comments to Hernandez Struggling

  • dan the man

    It’s certainly hard to be part of a rebuilding plan and get traded at the same time. One or the other, guys. This is just weak popular opinion, though. Sherrill is over 29, the O’s are rebuilding, therefore it’s thought he’ll get traded. It’s possible, but I think the O’s need this guy too much.

    There’s another Hernandez struggling as well. Ramon is hitting a tick above Luis Hernandez, and that’s not real encouraging. Not to mention every one of those hits are singles, I think. Ramon has looked good with the arm, though, since that one error on the first game of ST.

    Leceister got shellacked today. Sherrill was nasty for 2 innings. Oscar Salazar continues to get hits (who is this guy?). Luis will be fine, I think, too. I don’t mind Loretta playing 2nd in the event of a Roberts trade, though.

    Chris Gomez would come in handy right about now, eh? That one is still a head-scratcher.

  • neal s

    By the way: the Featured Comments Feature didn’t seem to gather much traction. Any votes on keeping it going? I’m perfectly willing to abandon it if nobody is down. I was also thinking of taking Greg’s suggestion and making the “prize” a guest post. Lemme know…

  • dan the man

    Well, who won? I thought it was up to you to decide the winner. We could put our two cents in, but ultimately it was your decision. Maybe I’m wrong? I think it’s a good idea – it certainly generated more comments.

    This from Roch, which I saw coming about a day or two ago:

    Blake Davis had another hit today and was robbed in an earlier at-bat. He also continues to play a nice shortstop.

    A recurring observation today by another member of the media: “This guy’s already a better shortstop than Luis Hernandez.”

  • neal s

    The prize would be awarded at the end of the month, picked from the Featured Comments for each week. I’ll go ahead tomorrow and do the Featureds for this past week and keep it going through March before awarding the prize. We can all see from there if we feel like it’s a good addition to the site.

    I’m curious about this Blake Davis kid. He’s go no experience above the AA level, but in that sense he’s not that far behind Hernandez. If you go by the info at this page, he’s got a lot of potential.

    Maybe I need to re-think my “no organizational depth” comments from the main post?

    Also, nice couple of quotes on the middle infield situation from this article:

    “It’s an area that we may need to augment,” MacPhail said. “With Freddie out, it just adds to it.”

    Said Trembley, “Guys are not going to earn positions at this level because of default.”

  • dan the man

    Yeah, see what’s up after a month of featured comments – it’s good times.

    It’s funny, we don’t really know what’s out there in those low A levels. Sure, there’s an Erbe and a Rowell kicking around, but who knows about anyone else, really. And anybody can turn into a solid player despite their “status”. That Bynum injury is probably the best thing that could have happened for Davis. Now let’s see where this goes, if anywhere at all. If he steals bases and doesn’t suck defensively, he’s no worse than Fahey or Hernandez and therefore deserves just as good a shot. Lack of AAA experience would most likely hold him back though, I would guess.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I liked the featured comments, if only to highlight the discussions, but there’s not much to say, is there? It’s cool, and maybe its stimulating better conversation. Prizes are always fun….but I for one still am owed a guest post for declaring that Brian Roberts is not a racist against japanese people (who do not all love giant robots…just the ones who get noticed do).

    Our shortstop wOes are pretty bad. I’d say it becomes a priority in the amatuer draft, huh? We’ve got a ton of pitching, a catcher, some outfielders, and corner infielders in our system and nothing up the middle at all.

    Since we are rebuilding, I’m kinda against any more vets making the team that won’t help out really, but I have always been a fan of Mark Loretta, in the event of a Roberts trade that doesn’t give us a second baseman back.

    Meanwhile, Blake Davis takes center stage!

  • Greg

    Luis Hernandez is not disappointing anyone at this point. He’s a AA ballplayer playing in the MLB because of positional scarcity. In 2000 at-bats, he’s batting .250, with 115 extra base hits. IN AA BALL. If he can’t hit AA, why would anyone think that he’s going to be amazing in the MLB?

    His apologists had this “oh, but his defense makes up for it” schtick, which maybe nobody else noticed, but he tied for third in MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL with 3 three errors so far in 8 games.

    You can’t defend Luis Hernandez any longer. You can’t rush Blake Davis to the majors. You can’t count on Beanpole Fahey. Veteran presence must be sought after. People think I’m nuts, but I didn’t think a trade for Mark Loretta as a stopgap was a bad idea.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Ok, so I suppose the question is which infield do you like the best:

    Hernandez/Roberts (or Fahey or some other scrub)

    Cedeno/Loretta

    Uribe/Roberts (or something like this)

    Now, Cedeno has more potential than Hernandez, but is still highly questionable. Roberts has the highest potential trade value/star power/awesomeness, and Loretta’s a solid vet. Uribe is a schlub.

    Which do you like the most, hmmm?

    Remember, we’re rebuilding here!

  • Greg

    I think a Mora/ Loretta/ Roberts/ Moore IF looks the best right now, IMO.

  • KonaBoy

    3B Mora/SS Gomez/2B Roberts/1B Moore or Costanzo

    Gomez is assuming we’re able to pull a fast one on the Pirates, considering their recent episode of acquiring Matt Morris from the Giants, and get him by trading away one of our vet scrubs: Gibbons, Payton, Millar, Huff, Mora.

  • KonaBoy

    Oh, and if we have to give up Mora to get him, then put Moore and Costanzo at the corners.

  • neal s

    Going through the comments just now I realized, Dan, that you had already posted that info on Blake Davis. My bad.

    I also realized that Random Dude brought up the “trade Sherrill” question already. I missed that somehow.

    It’s an interesting proposition. I guess I’d have to look at that like any other deal: what are we getting back?

  • dan the man

    Ramon went 0-3 today with his last at-bat being a pop-up on the first pitch. Ugh… “Best shape of his life” or not, he’s still hitting worse than Fahey, which is just silly. Still, it’s just ST.

  • dan the man

    Gutsy: Rocky Cherry loads the bases and leaves them loaded in the bottom of the 9th to send it to extra innings.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    While I totally agree that Moore > Millar or Huff and Constanzo > Mora and Gomez > anything we’ve got…we KNOW we won’t be trading Mora, Gibbons, Payton, Millar, or Huff for Chris Gomez. We KNOW Mora and Millar are in the infield.

    I’m not sure how much SS Loretta has played/how he looks there. Interesting thought. I also am hearing Clint Barmes name thrown around a lot – that would be cool…but it probably won’t happen. Roberts being traded….well, we’ll see I guess.

    I like Loretta/Roberts and could live with Loretta/Cedeno…but I’m actually just fine with Hernandez/Roberts…because I don’t like what we’d be getting back for Brian Bob.

  • neal s

    Andrew’s right, unfortunately. As excited as I am about the possibilities inherent in regular playing time for guys like Moore and Costano, this isn’t their year. And as much as I’d love to get Chris Gomez back, even the Pirates aren’t stupid enough to send him packing in exchange for our dead weight.

    The sad truth about Payton/Huff/Millar/Mora/Gibbons is that everybody in the league knows what we know: that they’re not very good and the O’s would love to unload them. Other teams won’t even kick the tires until one of them starts playing well enough to be considered a valuable “veteran presence”.

    Opening Day starters:

    Hernandez
    Millar
    Roberts
    Hernandez
    Mora
    Scott
    Jones
    Markakis
    Guthrie

    This is all assuming Roberts doesn’t get traded — and I don’t think he will.

    Not as exciting as it could be, but that’s the reality. I think they’re working to fix it.

  • neal s

    Oh, also: cash in that guest post whenever you’d like, Andrew. I’d love to see it.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    When I have something insightful and unique to say, I’ll be there! Think sometime after Opening Day…Dan and Joe both wanted me to write about baseball anyway, and Spring Training is in its “boring” phase nowadays…plus I want to see what the roster looks like before commenting, really…but I’m expecting exactly that opening day, too, with penn in the five slot – and I actually expect a solid campaign from him. He’s older, wiser, healthy, and his stuff WAS good…he should be a good major league pitcher. Stay tuned!

    Also, I don’t forget that I owe everyone a round next time I’m in the city for some bet I lost or something (I want to say it was Red Sox related, but the bet I remember losing was to change my name to Girlchester…) anyway, that’ll probably happen in May or earlier before/after a good game (and I am totally thinking Seattle in April, but that just ain’t gonna happen).

    Speaking of, Neal, organize a TLC get together to watch dem O’s.

  • Greg

    I’ve been hankering for a reason to hang out with some people who know as much about the Os as I do. Get some brews, a pit beef sandwich… cheap bleacher seats…

    You guys seem to be a lot older than me, so it could be weird.

  • dan the man

    Well, I’m 24. Don’t know how that relates to your age, but it’s hardly a factor in having a good time watching/talking about the O’s. If you’re old enough to get brews, I would say it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.

    I’m still on the Roberts will get traded boat, in a package with Jay Payton.

  • neal s

    There’ll definitely be at least a few TLC-organized O’s outings this year. Stay tuned.

    @Greg: that’s odd, because I always assumed you were older than me/us. But really, as long as you’re of legal drinking age it makes virtually no difference.

  • neal s

    Beat me to it, Dan.

  • dan the man

    Funny that we both went the booze route with that one.