NOV. 15: Hanigan "is going to be traded," tweets Olney. Multiple teams are interested in Hanigan, and the Reds feel they can get a good prospect in exchange, Olney adds.
NOV. 8: The Reds have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent Brayan Pena, giving them three catchers on their 40-man roster: Pena, Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan. It appears that Hanigan is the odd man out, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from a source that Hanigan is likely to be moved (Twitter link). ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Rays and Yankees, two teams with question marks at catcher this offseason, have liked Hanigan in the past.
Hanigan, 33, struggled through the worst season of his career in 2013, batting just .198/.306/.261 and tying a career-low with two home runs. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Hanigan to earn $2.3MM through arbitration this offseason, which should be a cheap enough sum for interested parties to take on. The main culprit in Hanigan's poor season appears to have been a .216 batting average on balls in play. That number figures to trend back toward his career mark of .283, especially when considering that Hanigan's batted-ball profile didn't radically change in 2013. In fact, Hanigan's 21.5 percent line-drive rate was actually a slight increase over his 2012 mark (21.2 percent) and is right in line with his career mark (21.9 percent).
Hanigan has long been known as a patient hitter that is tough to strike out, as evidenced by a career 12 percent walk rate and 10.1 percent strikeout rate. Detractors may point to the lofty walk rate as a product of him batting eighth in an NL lineup so often (one spot in front of the pitcher), but Hanigan's career walk rate in more than 300 plate appearances out of the seventh slot in the order is higher than his walk rate in 1,110+ PAs in the eighth slot.
Hanigan also carries a reputation as a solid defensive backstop, having led the league in caught-stealing percentage in 2013 (45 percent) and 2012 (48 percent). His 40 percent career mark is about 12 percentage points higher than the league average, which tends to be around 28 percent. He's also known as one of the best in the business in terms of pitch-framing — an art he discussed at length with Ben Lindbergh for a Grantland piece back in May.