One of the more surprising offseason acquisitions for the Philadelphia Phillies had to be picking up free agent pitcher Roberto Hernandez.
After a 6-13 year a season ago with the Tampa Bay Rays, Hernandez’s arm appeared to be shot. He not only went 6-13, but his ERA was 4.89 and he gave up 24 home runs.
Yet the Phillies passed on some bigger names, claiming poverty, and went for the “value” of Hernandez. Value, in this case, means cheap. What the Phillies have learned so far about Hernandez is that you get what you pay for. In his first month with the Phillies, Hernandez is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA and his four home runs allowed so far puts him on a pace to equal the 24 he gave up a year ago.
If the Phillies had no options, they would be forced to live with Hernandez strictly as an innings-eater behind a solid threesome of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and A.J. Burnett, but the Phillies do indeed have an attractive option stocked away in Triple A. David Buchanan, a Georgia State product, is 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA for the Phils’ Lehigh Valley (Pa.) farm team.
Going head-to-head with Hernandez, Buchanan was the better pitcher in the spring, but promoting Hernandez was purely an economical decision, not a baseball one. If the Phillies want to win, they are going to have to start making baseball decisions, and one more bad Hernandez start should dictate that decision be promoting Buchanan.