Monday, November 16, 2009

Reds Re-sign Ramon Hernandez

Earlier today, it was reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Reds re-signed veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez to a one-year deal worth $3M, with a 2011 option worth $3.25M that vests if he plays 120 games in 2010.

For a team that's supposedly considering trading star players Brandon Phillips, Aaron Harang, Francisco Cordero and Bronson Arroyo, spending $3M on Hernandez seems fairly odd. Considering that the Reds already have Ryan Hanigan on their roster, who has posted a .363 OBP in 402 PA in Cincinnati and is regarded as an above-average defender behind the plate, it seems that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

The Reds are currently planning on using Paul Janish at shortstop, but he has a career wOBA of .268 and a line of .205/.290/.292 in 381 PA. While Janish is arguably playable given his impressive defensive ability, he's an absolutely zero with the bat. They could also use some help in their starting rotation, which has a hole behind Arroyo, Harang, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, and it's unclear if guys like Micah Owings, Matt Maloney and Travis Wood can be the answer.

A big reason for why the Reds retained Hernandez is likely Hanigan's horrid finish to the season, he posted a .160/.264/.226 line in his final 40 games, posting 18 of his 31 strikeouts during that period. But given that Hanigan has a track record of getting on base and playing solid defense, Hernandez isn't clearly an upgrade on Hanigan, even if Hanigan has little to no power.

Unless the Reds believe that pitchers will start to pound the strike zone all the time on Hanigan, forcing him to swing his relatively weak bat and bring down his walk rate, it seems very questionable that this is the best way for the Reds to use that $3M, especially if they're calling around the league to try to dump other big salaries.

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