Reds/Orioles Swap a Good Deal for Both

December 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm 4 comments


Yesterday, the Orioles sent catcher Ramon Hernandez and $3M to the Reds for utility player Ryan Freel and minor leaguer infielders Justin Turner and Brandon Waring. The swap helps both teams and it allows the Orioles to pave the way for the top prospect in the game, Matt Wieters.

The Orioles are giving the Reds $3M to help cover the cost of Hernandez’s contract while the Orioles are taking Freel’s entire contract of $4M. So, the Reds are getting Hernandez for $1M while the Orioles shed $1M off their payroll so they get Freel for $3M.

I see no reason why Hernandez can’t revert to form eventhough he has slightly gone downhill the past two years. He is moving to a great hitter’s park and to the weaker league. He should be a well above average offensive catcher for the Reds for $1M.

Ryan Freel has been oft-injured lately but will be healthy when the 2009 season starts. Freel can play 2B/3B/LF/CF/RF and he offers good speed and baserunning. He also has shown good ability to get on base (he has a career .357 OBP).

The Orioles recieved two marginal prospects in return. Here is Keith Law’s take on the two:

Turner is probably an extra guy in the majors, although with a little luck he could turn into an everyday second baseman. He is a well-below-average runner who makes a lot of contact but doesn’t have power or hit many line drives. He can’t be a utility player because he can’t play short. Waring is an organizational outfielder with atrocious plate discipline; he struck out in more than one-third of his 2008 at-bats despite being old (23) for the Midwest League.

I have no insight on Turner so I take Law’s word on him. Waring, on the other hand, I think has more ability but Law knows better than I do. I like Waring’s power and even with his huge strikeout rate he draws walks. I wouldn’t give up on him.

I think the Orioles could’ve recieved more in return given the amount of interest in catchers this offseason and the lack of quality catchers available. But this deal was made for one reason: to clear room for Matt Wieters.

Fangraphs has his stats here: In his first professional season after signing as a first-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech in 2007, Wieters dominated the minor leagues with a .345/.451/.576 line in 229 High-A at-bats. He then carried that hot stick to Double-A where he hit .365/.463/.625 with an ISO of .260 in 208 at-bats. The 22-year-old catcher also showed excellent plate discipline with rates of 15.4 BB% and 13.9 K%. His wOBA at Double-A was .466. The switch-hitter performs well from both sides of the plate and posted lines of .382/.446/.740 against southpaws and .341/.455/.543 against right-handed pitching.

The deal works out for both teams in this case and there really are no losers in this deal.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlie Nehl  |  December 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I’m wondering if this is a deal before a Brian Roberts deal, allowing Freel to play 2nd. The thing I like about Freel the most is his hard nose 110% every play sort of guy. There needs to be more guys in the league like him.

  • 2. Erik  |  December 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    One would have to either assume the Brian Roberts deal as Charlie mentioned, or they are going to slide Freel into the SS position.

  • 3. Charlie Nehl  |  December 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I guess I never realized they lost Miggy. I think he could be adaquete at SS.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 10, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    The O’s signed Cesar Izturis to play SS and his glove is above average so I don’t think Freel will play short. I do think Charlie might be on to something but if the O’s make a play for Tiexiera then they would be best suited to keep Roberts but that is a longshot.


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