John Fay is reporting a trade between the Reds and Orioles in which the Reds would send Ryan Freel and a mid-level prospect to Baltimore for the Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez and some cash to cover the difference in salaries. I like this trade. Here is the breakdown of the two players:
Freel: 32 years old. 2009 stats of .298/.340/.359, OPS+ of 82. 0 HR's 10 RBI's in 48 games and 131 AB's. Played in 99+ games in 3 of his 6 pro seasons. Coming off surgery.
Hernandez: 32 years old. 2009 stats of .257/.308/.406, OPS+ of 86. 15 HR's and 65 RBI's in 133 games and 463 AB's. Played 99+ games in all 10 pro seasons.
I like this trade for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we are trading an oft-injured, utility player whose main asset is his speed and toughness. This speed and toughness is only in reputation because he is on the wrong side of 30 and has had significant injuries two years in a row. His grit and toughness don't show up on the field because he is always hurt. Besides, the Reds already have a super utility guy in Jeff Keppinger who can play all infield and corner outfield positions and doesn't get paid 4 million dollars. Freel was not useful on the Reds roster and the fact that anyone wants him amazes me.
Ramon Hernandez is not exactly Mike Piazza, but he is a serviceable catcher. He has spent the past 3 years in the AL East, the toughest division in baseball, yet still managed to put up 3 years of 111, 88, and 86 OPS+. A move to the National League and Great American Ballpark can only help those numbers. He could turn into a 20 HR guy and an OPS+ of around 100. What an upgrade that would be. He is also from Venezuela which can only help the communication between him and our pitching staff(Volquez, Cueto, Cordero). If he can help bring along Ryan Hanigan and hold down the catcher spot until Devin Meseraco, our first round pick in 2007, can make it to the big leagues, that would be a huge plus.
Worst case he serves as a back-up to Hanigan for the same price as Freel would have made while on the DL or serving as a light-hitting pinch hitter. Best case he catches for a few years and helps develop Cueto and Volquez until a younger catcher takes over and Hernandez backs him up. We all know he will be better than last years catcher, "The Human Out" Paul Bako.
This deal seems to sure up the catching spot meaning the only real focus is for a right-handed hitting outfielder who plays wither LF or CF. This will most likely be done via a trade of Homer Bailey. The rumored deal of Bailey for Jermaine Dye is apparently dead. I guess that means a trade for Carlos Beltran or signing Manny Ramirez. O wait, only 5 teams have a chance at Ramirez, the same 5 teams that had a chance at Beltran. Glad their is an even playing field out there.
16 hours ago