Over at the Scout.com board the question was raised whether Chuck Hernandez should be let go. RaysAllTheWay mentioned that there is something wrong with the Rays as far as finding and developing young pitchers goes since there has been almost no success whatsoever, especially with drafting and developing our own.
I think part of the reason is the awful decisions the organization makes with regards to handling young pitchers, as evidenced by this list of compaints:
Joe Kennedy was ridden hard with a huge spike in IP in 2002, he was injured and tanked the next season.
Seth McClung didn't perform well in limited Double-A experience in 2002, he was in the majors the next season when there was no reason to think he was ready. After he recovered from his surgery he was put in the major league bullpen instead of continuing his development as a starter in Triple-A. Now that he's down there he isn't even starting.
Chad Gaudin was called up for no sane reason at a really young age then jerked around in 2004 before being thrown away for nothing.
Scott Kazmir, who was one of the big hopes of the future and crown jewels of the farm system after the trade to get him, has never pitched at Triple-A and in my opinion really should be there now, he's still very young and pretty inexperienced. There's also much less temptation to abuse him if he's in the minors, particularly when you consider Lou's desire to win an extra game or two.
Jon Switzer is recovering from a torn labrum and he's suddenly in the majors after limited time back and will now be pitching in an unfamiliar role instead of developing.
Brandon Backe, thrown into the majors too soon after his conversion instead of working on it in the minors.
I think a lot of the fault for Brazelton's utter failure to develop shouldn't be placed on the Rays but they sure as hell haven't helped. Fiddling with his mechanics that he had success with in college (sure, he's back to his old mechanics and hasn't really improved but it's stupid to do that in the first place). Promoting him fast with complete disregard for whether or not he was ready.
I know some will disagree with me on Kazmir but I don't think the Rays can be defended much on the rest of those decisions. Even when they have had promising players they've shown an inability to handle them properly, leading to regression and busts. I've complained about the way current prospects like Sonnanstine and Orvella are dominating their levels in the minors without getting promoted but I'd much rather see that happen then have them ruined by impatience and incompetence as well.
As for Hernandez, I don't know. Things haven't been good but I'm not sure how much blame should be placed on him, at least so far. Really though I wouldn't care if he got fired, I think this whole franchise needs a thorough cleaning out. The only two non-players that I know of that I would actually care about if they were fired are scout Benny Latino (if he's still with the Rays) and Scott Proefrock, a front office guy I hadn't heard of but according to Will Carroll is highly thought of around baseball and might be a good GM candidate in the future. I'm sure there are other good guys in the organization too that I don't know of but in general must of the visible guys would hardly hurt the team if they were replaced.