Originally posted on Baseball News Source  |  Last updated 5/25/13
After posting disappointing numbers for Cleveland in 2012, 0-3 record with a 7.53 ERA in just 3 starts, Roberto Hernandez was released and was a free agent.Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Freidman stepped in and made a decision to sign Herandez to a 1-year $3.25M contract that included another $1.85M in performance bonuses for innings pitched and relief appearances.Clearly it was a risk-reward type of decision that Freidman has an uncanny ability to make. After nine starts in 2013 Hernandez has a record of 2-5 with a 5.73 ERA, it’s time for another decision.The hope was Hernandez would help offset the innings lost when James Shields was traded to Kansas City for a package of prospects including Wil Myers.Pitching coach Jim Hickey called him an innings eating type of guy, that would be better as a starter, featuring a plus sinker ball and a solid defense behind him.In his latest effort Hernandez lasted two innings longer than his previous start, when the  Baltimore Orioles torched him for five earned runs in two innings.Against the Yankees last night Hernandez allowed six hits and five earned runs, striking out three and walking three. So much for eating innings.Hernandez has had moments when he looked good, but finding consistency with his pitch location continues to deteriorate. Hitters missed on 26 percent of his pitches over his first four starts. That rate is down to 18 percent as of late and trending the wrong direction.The Rays are not the kind of team that can afford to wait for Hernandez to reverse the trend. If he were to somehow stop the bleeding, how much consistent productivity could the team realistically expect going forward?Rays manager Joe Maddon  optimistic in nearly any situation said, ”The primary thing is, he’s not throwing the ball well with any kind of consistency” and about the sinker that he’s ”missing in the middle of the plate. It’s not where he wants it to be. That’s what I’m seeing.”The Rays  have numerous options internally they decide to make a change. David Price will eventually come off the disabled list. That leaves Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer and Alex Torres as eligible candidates to replace Hernandez, with Archer having the most major-league experience.It seems foolish to keep handing the ball to Hernandez, given the options, and the time for that decision is now. 
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