Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Freel for Hernandez

The latest Reds trade rumor is Ryan Freel (and probably a prospect) going to Baltimore for catcher Ramon Hernandez (and probably some cash toward his salary). This is basically an exchange of two bad contracts. The Reds don't need Freel, and he's owed $4mil in '09. Heck, they could re-sign C-Pat for less. The Orioles don't need Hernandez, as they have the best prospect in baseball, Matt Wieters, ready to take over at catcher.

Hernandez is owed $8mil for '09 and there is a club option at $8.5 mil for '10, with a $1mil buyout. So he's owed at least $9mil on his contract.

Freel and Hernandez both peaked in '06, struggled with injuries in '07, and started out slowly in '08. The difference is Hernandez had a good second half, hitting .272 with 11 hr's in the last 4 months of the season. Freel never caught stride in '08. Hernandez final '08 line was .257/.308/.406 with 15 hr's and 65 rbi's. Compared to his '06 (.275/.343/.479 w/ 23 hr's and 91 rbi's) not great but, like I said, he did have a solid second half and his slow start was very likely due to injury recovery.

Of course, the final analysis of this deal would have to come after a prospect is named and we know how much money comes back, but this seems like a low-risk deal to me. Hernandez is a solid backstop with a decent bat and some power, and we desparately need a catcher. He may not be among the top 10 catchers, but he's close if he can duplicate his pre-injury '06 season. After subtracting Freel's $4mil, this only costs the Reds an addtional $5mil at the most and seems worth the risk.

Freel is completely replaceable (Norris Hopper?) and won't be missed accept by my wife and the Newport police department.


MCM said...

well this Freel deal got done but thats not why I write. Step one - K Rod complete but the Mets need to complete the job of firming up that bullpen and get Street or Jenks. As the Mets have proven over the last two years one top closer is not enough to keep a 7 game lead in September. Sorry this comment is not in response to your post but it is about baseball. One thing that can be said about Minaya is every offseason he brings in a big name. His track record since becoming GM : 2005 - Pedro and Beltran, 2006 - Wagner and Delgado, 2007 - Santana, 2008 - K Rod. Who said small market teams from Queens can't compete for big names.
One last note, I heard that when Citigroup's naming rights to Citifield were in jeopardy the Mets had asked Gov. Bajavich (sp?) to try to find a new corporate sponsor. He has good experience looking for the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

I heard the NYC city council was proposing naming the park "Taxpayers Field" while making Citi eat the costs because of the bailout...

arnold babar said...

Yes, the Newport Hooters has lost some business.

Dave Zahniser said...

Thanks for the comment. I love the idea of the Mets going after Jenks. The Blue Sox traded him at the end of last season (for a very inexpensive Chris Ray) in anticipation that he might be traded in off-season. The Blue Sox also picked-up Octavio Dotel, who would likely take Jenks' spot as the White Sox (no relation) closer.

On second thought, the Mets should trade for George Sherril, too, which would ensure that Ray starts the year as the O's closer.

On third thought, the Reds should trade for Sherril and forget Arthur Rhoads.

arnold babar said...

McAllister has a post comparing K-Rod's contract to Cordero's. They are very similar. And K-Rod's is only for three years, not four. Doesn't seem right.

Fred "the Dorf" Dorfman said...

Different markets. When we got CoCo, there weren't thirty something available closers. The Reds overpaid, for sure, but they needed a closer and needed to make a splash.