Well, don't I feel like a cad. A few weeks ago, I made up a rumor out of the thin air because, as the saying goes, "the Reds have no money and are talking to no one." Things were boring and I was bored, so I figured it would be fun to have something to talk about for a few hours. Since then, though, the rumor mill has been churning out some high quality product for us to chew on. We're chewing on mill products now? What are we, beavers?
Last night, word got 'round that the Angels, who are searching for a catcher after trading away the World Series MVP in THE WORST TRADE EVER, are making schmoogly eyes at the Reds over Ryan Hanigan. The Angels sorely need a catcher and the Reds have them in spades, so it makes sense that they would sit down over a cold glass of chihuahua piss - or whatever it is those weirdo Californians are drinking these days - and have a discussion. Or maybe it's all just made up. Whatever though, let's have that conversation for them. Just for the heck of it.
If the Angels want Hanigan, who do we want in return? The Reds have made no secret that Priority #1, which has long sense been a right-handed bat (we had a long and fruitless journey scouring the internets for them a long time ago), this off-season is starting pitching. The Angels have enviable depth in this department, so perhaps we can make something work. I've made no secret over the years that I'm positively blue balled over Dan Haren. In his seven full seasons in the bigs, his worst single-season fWAR is 4.0. Dude is more reliable than Bronson Arroyo and soooo much better. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball, actually. And he's only 31! Now, normally any such pitcher would be completely ridiculous to discuss in trade talks, but newly-minted Angels GM Jerry DiPoto has a history of selling Haren for pennies on the dollar. A year and a half ago, when he was the interim GM in Arizona, he sent Haren to the Angels for what amounted to a mid-rotation starter, a top-75 prospect, and two C-level prospects. Perhaps he hasn't learned his lesson? Maybe we could nab him for Hanigan, Homer Bailey, and Yonder Alonso? I know, I know, I'm saying such crazy things. But what if...
More realistically though, the Angels do have some decent young arms that could be had. Ervin Santana has been mentioned a few times around the internet as a guy they could move this winter. He's good and kind of expensive (he'll make $11.2 mil this year and has a $13 mil option for next). Certainly, Hanigan alone wouldn't be enough to get him, but I think the Reds could build a decent package around Hanigan to make it happen.
If the Angels are unwilling to part with their established talent and the Reds are interested in cost-control, guys like Trevor Bell and Tyler Chatwood could pique interest. Bell will be 25 and has been something of a swing man the past few years, shuttling between the majors and AAA and the bullpen and the rotation. He keeps the walks down and gets a decent number of strike outs, and even got a strong number of ground balls last season. He's definitely not the top of the rotation help the Reds need though, so I'm not really that excited about him. As for Chatwood, on paper he looks like a strange bird. Next year will be his age-22 season, so he's moved through the minors very quickly. He hasn't pitched like a fast-mover though, giving up tons of walks and not getting tons of strikeouts. Maybe there's much more here than the numbers show, but as an outside observer who has checked his B-Ref page and his FanGraphs page, I'll pass.
If I'm Walt Jocketty though, the Angel I target is Jordan Walden. He served as the Angels closer this past season and tallied 32 saves with a 2.79 FIP. He was a starter in the minors until 2010 when they moved him to the 'pen. It's possible that he could be shifted back the rotation, but I'd be just fine with keeping him in the 'pen. As with Haren and Santana, it would most likely take more than Hanigan to get him, but a pre-arb closer who can rack up the strike outs is definitely something the Reds could use.
As the original rumor says, if the Reds move Hanigan they would probably try to re-sign Ramon Hernandez to serve as Devin Mesoraco backup and mentor. But realistically, it makes much more sense for the Angels to sign Hernandez themselves and let him mentor their top catching prospect, Hank Conger. This seems the most likely scenario to me, but the possibility exists for us to get Dan Haren and that would be just so incredibly snackers.