We’ve heard names like Fred Lewis, Scott Podsednik and Edgar Renteria bandied about in recent days, but nothing beyond Jocketty confirming that agents have been contacted has developed.
But now it appears the Reds may be close to signing Jeremy Hermida to a minor-league deal.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that a baseball source told the web site the deal is imminent, but hasn’t been finalized.
No formal announcement has been made.
Cincinnati has been looking for a left-handed-hitting outfielder to come off the bench, and Hermida could fit that bill if he were to make the club out of Spring Training. General manager Walt Jocketty has also had talks with left-handed-hitting outfielders Scott Podsednik and Fred Lewis.
I’m more excited about this than I have been about rumors involving Lewis, Podsednik and Renteria for the following reasons:
It’s a minor-league deal … low risk, potentially high reward. Two years ago the Reds were signing Jonny Gomes to a minor-league deal, and you see how that turned out.
Hermida is still very young but has MLB experience. He turns 27 at the end of the month (Gomes was 28 when we signed him). Lewis is 30, Podsednik will be 35 in March.
He’s a former first-round pick. The talent is there. In fact, he was part of the infamous 2002 first round, where B.J. Upton is the only pick of the first five (which included the Reds’ Chris Gruler, who never pitched in the majors) who hasn’t turned out to be a bust. But picks 6 through 20 have included Greinke, Prince Fielder, Jeff Francis, Hermida, Joe Saunders, Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Hamels, James Loney and Denard Span. (The Reds get a pass, however, for the fact that their first two picks of that draft never reached the majors because their third pick was second-rounder Joey Votto.)
Hermida’s young but he has experience. And he just has to regain his stroke. In 2007, he hit .296/18/63 in 429 at-bats. Hate to keep beating over the head with the Gomes comparison, but Gomes was four seasons removed from .282/21/54 in 348 at-bats when the Reds signed him. Hermida is three years removed from his big year.
By the way, I found it a little bizarre that Jocketty thought Laynce Nix had signed with Seattle when he hadn’t, according to John Fay (scroll to the end of the blog post). Wha?