Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dawn of Orlando's Era

I have to admit that I'm torn on this.

Then again I'm torn on just about everything. That's the price of being a Libra.

Not torn from a baseball standpoint though. From a baseball standpoint, trading for Orlando Hernandez was a move that had to be made for a number of reasons. First off being that the back end of the rotation was about as calm and comforting as all those apocalypse movies that have been on television lately. Orlando is going to help in that regard.

And let's face it, the price is right. For all the good that Jorge Julio has done lately in mop-up and less pressurized situations, two things were at play here. First, Julio is always going to be behind Sanchez, Heilman, and others on the depth chart. So that leaves "fourth inning set up guy"?

And even if Julio gained his effectiveness back, and his confidence back, what's going to happen the next time he has a bad outing after a few good ones? I'll tell you what's going to happen. He will sulk, and then you can cue up "The Lonely Man" theme as he slinks away from the mound. Julio will always be a project, he'll always be high maintenance, and he'll always have the temperament of an overly sensitive cocker spaniel. Orlando meanwhile, has bulldog in him...and anyone who disagrees with that need only to dust off the tape of when he entered a 2005 playoff game in Fenway Park with the bases loaded, nobody out, and up by a run. Nobody scored.

Hernandez will also be a guy who will be comfortable as a long man in the pen, which he may be relegated to at some point in the season...and definitely in the playoffs.

So why am I torn? Is it the fact that his back has been balky? (Oddly enough, his next Diamondback start might have been pushed back to the series against the Mets early next week. It still might, but...) Is it the fact that he has a history of hiding his injuries like someone else we know and love? Is it his record and high ERA so far this season? Is it the fact that nobody, including Orlando himself, knows exactly how old Orlando is? (At best, he's thirty-six. At worst, Julio Franco now has a father figure.)

Or could it be his former residence?

I'm told he has a nickname. You know what it is. I know what it is. But you won't see it in this post. You see, I don't refer to him by his nickname...never did. There are a few athletes that reach mythical status to the point where he is referred to solely by his nickname. But most of them achieve that status after years of performance. Orlando earned it with years of service in Cuba. But not here.

Here in the U.S., he earned it because of the myth of the pinstripes. You could go weeks watching sports highlights on local television in New York without once hearing the name "Orlando Hernandez". Nope, just the nickname.

Orlando's credentials in the post season (8-0 before his first loss to...oh you already know) did in fact earn him the nickname status eventually. But the fact that he had that status here in New York well before them just burned my ass. And the fact that he earned them in the Bronx made me crazy. Hence, we traded for Orlando Hernandez today, and not what you might know him as. At some point, now that he's here, that may change as far as I'm concerned. And when it does, you know something really good has happened. But for now, you'll all just have to settle for me telling you that it's just another winning move for Omar Minaya.

Besides, the Mets already have a Duke.


jabair said...

anyone have any info on the financials of this trade??

elliot said...

I like this trade as much for what it's not as for what it is. Here is what the Mets did NOT do:
* They didn't trade a prime minor league prospect for a washed up mediocre major leaguer. Jorge Julio has potential, sure - but he's not Pelfrey, Milledge, Humber - he's not even Bannister or Maine.

* They didn't make a major financial commitment to someone who will block a Met prospect for years.

* They did not panic and bargain from a position of weakness. Minaya played his hand well.

* They did not sign Roger Clemens.

'nuff said.

j m said...

Already have a Duke? God...for a moment, I thought I was gonna click and see *this*.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Metstradamus, don't play cutesy with your readers. We all know what his nickname is -- El Fuque!

Unser said...

Omar trades Jorge Julio for Orlando Hernandez. . . Translation: "I made a huge freaking mistake trading Kris Benson."

Couldn't we have traded Victor Zambrano for El Duque? We could have thrown in some Pepsi Party Patrol guns to sweeten the deal.

Metstradamus said...

The Pepsi Party Patrol guns have more velocity than Victor Zambrano.

Listmaker said...

so do you still make a point of referring to ichiro by his last name when he does something of note?

Metstradamus said...

Sometimes. I don't quite understand that either. But that's a cultural thing. They do the same thing with Yao(Ming).
It isn't a "he's a Yankee so we just call him by his nickname" thing. It's just so odd that Hernandez is almost never referred to by his given name. It's a strange phenomenon.

Listmaker said...

i hate the yankees too, but i'm all for more nicknames.
i'm not so sure that the ichiro thing is cultural. i think he's a superstar and likes the first name recognition. ichiro sounds so much more fun to cry out than suzuki.
last i checked prince and madonna aren't asian.