In three starts over the last 14 days, Fernando Nieve is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA, defeating the Yankees, Rays, and Cardinals. So the question is, how in the world did the Astros get rid of him?
Well, they didn't, really. The Astros placed him on waivers, because he was out of options, and if you're out of options, you go on waivers. If no one claims you, then you can be sent to the minors - undoubtedly what Ed Wade wanted to have happen. Except the Mets claimed Nieve, and off he headed to Triple-A Buffalo. And when he got the spot start against the Yankees, well...now you know.
So why did the Astros get rid of him? According to NY Baseball Digest, it's because Ed Wade thought he was a whiner (quoting CBS' Danny Knobler's tweet):
Word on Nieve is Astros tired of him because they thought he was a whiner and excuse-maker.
I could understand the Astros possibly tiring of that kind of act, but how does a team with a farm system ranked dead last let an arm like this go? They didn’t even try to trade him. Maybe Nieve will go down as a Subway Series “flash in the pan”, but you have to wonder about the Houston decision making on this one.
Now it seems like a bad decision. But let's go back to Alyson Footer's March 14 article:
Fernando Nieve first joined the Astros' organization as a 16-year-old nearly a decade ago, but at no point did he stay healthy enough or pitch well enough to become a mainstay on the Major League level.
Nevermind that, after pitching in nine games total (due to injuries) over 2006-2007, Nieve posted a 5.72 ERA / 1.58 WHIP for Round Rock in 2008. Then in Spring Training 09, Nieve had an 11.57 ERA in two starts.
I doubt even the Mets saw these first three starts coming for Nieve. His MLB ERA is currently almost 2.5 runs lower than his ERA for Buffalo. So, yeah. I don't like it either, but it's not anywhere close to inexcusable that the Astros placed him on waivers.