The lead of the Baltimore Sun’s story about yesterday’s trade says a lot: The Orioles accomplished one of their primary goals at the winter meetings yesterday, trading catcher Ramon Hernandez.
Later in the story: For Hernandez, whose defense and effort has been questioned the past two seasons, the Orioles got Freel, 32, who plays all three outfield position and second and third base; and minor league infielders Justin Turner and Brandon Waring.
And this quote from Orioles president Andy MacPhail: “This trade was more about Matt Wieters, frankly,” MacPhail said. “It had been our goal to make sure we could introduce Matt into the major league scene somewhere over the course of the ’09 season, not necessarily to start right away, but we thought he could handle it eventually after a little time in Triple-A possibly under his belt. We knew that would create a situation where we were going to have to split some playing time with him and Ramon, and we knew Ramon wouldn’t be happy about that.”
Wow. Also worth reading is The Schmuck Stops Here (Peter Schmuck’s blog): No love for Ramon, as well as Ramon redux. I found it funny that MLB.com had two videos posted about the trade. In one, Mark Sheldon talked about how frustrated Hernandez was last season in Baltimore and how that affected his play. In the other, Walt Jocketty talks about how acquiring Hernandez gives the Reds a “strong character guy” as he spoke about how well he expects Ramon to provide a veteran presence and handle the Reds’ young staff.
So really it’s just a matter of whether Ramon leaves his bad attitude in Baltimore and truly looks at this as a fresh start. I’m sure it will help, as is the case with most players, if he starts hitting right away (and doesn’t slump too badly, especially at the beginning of the season).
Also, here’s some more info from the Sun about the minor-leaguers we gave up.
• Meanwhile: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal mentions in his MLB winter meetings blog that the Jermaine Dye-to-the-Reds discussions continue at a “moderate” level. He says a Homer-and-another-prospect-for-Dye deal was close before Thanksgiving but one reason it stalled was how much of the $11.5 million Dye is due to earn next year the White Sox would pay.
Rosenthal thinks the Reds might give up on Dye and pursue a Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell through free agency. Since neither Abreu nor Burrell was offered arbitration, the Reds wouldn’t have to give up a pick. And the Reds could sign either one for about what Dye makes.
I’d still love to see them trade young pitching (Homer and somebody) for the Blue Jays’ Alex Rios.