Getting a Luis (not Castillo), losing a Hernandez (not Keith)

So many questions with the bullpen these days. For instance, do we want to see what our new guy, Luis Ayala can do? Or do we hope all our starters pull a “Santana” like yesterday and throw 9 shut-out innings? Eh, I’ll take the complete-game shut-out. But juuuust in case that doesn’t work out…

First, a goodbye to Anderson Hernandez. Andy, we hardly knew ya. But we did ambush you for a pic at Port St. Lucie, and you were very nice about it. Still, Andy Hernandy’s (as Coop calls him) role was as a back-up, back-up infielder and Jose Reyes’s best bud. With Argenis Reyes now filling both positions with vigor, we just don’t need Andy anymore.

We do need another arm in the bullpen. Even an unfocused arm with a less than ideal ERA. So, hey Luis Ayala, welcome to New York. I think a change of scenery will be great for you.

What are we getting? A 5.77 ERA RH reliever who’s gone 1-8 this season. 30 yrs old, native of Mexico, Tommy John surgery in 2006. What are the stats not telling us? It’s been a tough year for Luis.

First, he got shot in the left arm while hunting in the off season. Why Dick Cheney would be hunting with a Latin relief pitcher is beyond me, but ball players? Guns. Stay away from them. Mostly, though, it seems he’s going through, or has recently endured, a divorce.

This, Luis, we can help you with. He had asked the Nats to trade him for a change of scenery, and he got just that. A fresh start in a new place with distractions everywhere–I think that’ll help the guy out. Plus, a new pitching coach can’t hurt. An objective eye, perhaps a new approach. So we’ve got Luis Ayala, angsty in his old environment, and hopefully more focused in his new one.

This acquisition–for which we gave up only what we did not need–has the potential to be one of those under-the-wire Omar moves–the ones that surprise everyone. The ones that have us asking “How’d he know?”

Let’s hope so. The pen could use it.

Biggest current question, of course: Does Ayala get the pink pretty princess backpack?


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