Free Agent Stock Watch: Ramon Hernandez

Ramon Hernandez was on the wrong side of history last night, as part of a Reds lineup that couldn't scratch out a single hit against Roy Halladay. But on the whole, 2010 has been a successful year for the Cincinnati backstop. Hernandez signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Reds last winter, which included a vesting option for 2011. The 34-year-old fell short of playing the 120 games needed to guarantee his return to the Reds, so he could be heading to free agency this winter. Let's break down his stock, as the Reds prepare for Friday's game….

The Pros

  • Hernandez posted the best OBP and third-best OPS of his career in 2010. His final totals in 352 plate appearances were .297/.364/.428, which represents his best slash line since 2006.
  • His play behind the plate still appears solid. He threw out more than a third of potential basestealers and allowed just two passed balls over the last two seasons.
  • The Reds have a pre-arbitration catcher in Ryan Hanigan, and, as Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News points out, their minor league system seems to be "catcher-rich." As such, there's a chance the Reds will decide not to offer Hernandez arbitration, in which case he wouldn't cost a draft pick to sign.

The Cons

  • Hernandez split time this year with Hanigan, who earned 58 starts. Given that he'll turn 35 in May, Hernandez's days of playing 120+ games behind the plate might be behind him.
  • In addition to his age, Hernandez's health may be a concern. After undergoing knee surgery in 2009, the veteran spent some time on the disabled list in 2010 with knee soreness.
  • Unlike free agent catchers Victor Martinez and John Buck, Hernandez doesn't hit for much power anymore. He hit just 12 longballs during his two years in Cincinnati.
  • Hernandez projects as a Type A free agent, so if he turns down an arbitration offer from the Reds, clubs may be reluctant to give up a high draft pick to sign him.

The Verdict

Whether or not the Reds offer Hernandez arbitration will play a significant role in what sort of contract he earns this offfseason. If the team makes an arbitration offer, the catcher could very well accept it, knowing that his Type A status might hurt his open market value. Even without an arbitration offer, Hernandez may not do better than a one-year deal, given his age and injury history. While his productive 2010 campaign should earn him a raise on last year's $3MM salary, it appears to be a buyer's market for catchers.


10 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Ramon Hernandez Leave a Reply

  1. bjsguess 5 years ago

    I can’t see the Reds netting a pick out of this situation. If they want him back they should offer him arbitration. If they don’t want him they should not.

    I can’t imagine ANY club willing to part with a 1st or 2nd rounder for a guy who might catch 100 games and give you decent production. That’s a really steep price to pay and not get much in return.

  2. Yankees should go out and pick this guy up. I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing Girardi strut his lineup card out with having Cervelli and Posada catch. Huge upgrade over both of them, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t cost much. Plus he’s bound to hit some more HR in Yankee stadium.

    • untdrum99 5 years ago

      Hit more homeruns in Yankee Stadium compared to Great American Ballpark (one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in MLB)??? I think Hernandez is a great catcher, but I think you’re overstating it just a bit. Take however many homeruns he hits at GABP and he’ll hit only 75% as many anywhere else.

      • Alright, alright, he probably would hit around the same number this year, but he would still be a solid complement to Jorge.

    • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

      I see you rooting for our Yanks alot to get him and i actually agree with you it would be a solid Compliment to Jorge as catching 120-140 games is way behind him and Ramon is great and i mean he is a really great guy for us and in the clubhouse he works so well with the young pitcher i would personally like to see him back one a one year unless Cinnci goes hard after V-Mart that would be great but i dont see it hopefully they at least consider him and Napoli. These writers always count Reds out on catchers unless its Beck an i dont really want him.

      • untdrum99 5 years ago

        I don’t see the Reds pursuing a different high level catcher through trade or free agency. I think if the Reds decide not to stay with Ramon Hernandez, they will look at internal options in the farm system. Personally, I hope they continue the Hanigan/Hernandez duo because it worked this season.

        • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

          I dont either but if they do i hope its those to (Napoli and V-Mart) and maybe a Flyer on Chris Ianetta i really like that kid and he is under contact he has some power and its a Buy low person just as i would love to see Reds in on Matt Kemp play left field for them, But i would love for Ramon to come back he is a very well liked guy here with us and i dont think we have any catchers in our farm ready for the show so they have to get another backstop if they dont retian Ramon

      • redsandyanksfan 5 years ago

        I meant Buck my keyboard is still messing up

  3. nathanalext 5 years ago

    I would think the Reds would resign him as a stop gap until Mesoraco is ready. 1-2 years most.

    • Based on this past season Mesoraco could be ready for his first taste of the majors as soon as opening day if he has a good spring. On the flip side I sure would not mind giving him 1 more year to get everything tuned up to make the majors in 2012 either.

      1 year deal is fine by me for Hernandez but anything more is too much. I could see perhaps a similar deal that he got this year with a slight increase to maybe say 4 million.

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