MLBTradeRumors thinks Ramon Hernandez is one of the most attractive trade chips right now
With the Reds' depth at catcher and the serious lack of quality at the position league-wide, they are in a most enviable position. He makes only $3 mil this year, is only signed for the one year, and will probably be a type-A free agent at the end of the year. And with Devin Mesoraco crushing throats in AAA, the Reds can very likely stand to move Ramon without hurting their playoff chances.
The real question though is whether or not they will move him at all. I'm of a mind to actively shop him, and that right soon. His value will never be higher than it is at this moment, with him slashing .316/.379/.526 and so many contenders looking for production from the catcher position. We all know this is not the real Clutch-Man-Monie, as good as he is. He's 35 and has bad knees, so he could tail off or land on the DL at any moment. Dusty has done a fantastic and laudable job in keeping him fresh, so I'm not really worried about his health, but rather my point is that he's at his absolutely peak right now. He's never going to be better and more valuable as a trade chip.
I don't think the Reds will do it though. He's by all appearances a clubhouse leader, valued teammate, and most importantly, a known-quantity. The Reds are not going to take a risk with Mesoraco as long as they are in the race. And while that may not be the best dollars-and-cents baseball decision, it's certainly a defensible one.
One of the best things about having two good catchers on the Major League roster
is that when one of them has an achy back, the other can easily shoulder the load. Ryan Hanigan has been bothered by back spasms for the last week and sat last night in deference to Ramon Hernandez. "We're doing what we can to let it calm down," Hanigan said. "It's spasming. I could play if I had to. We're letting it cool down because it hasn't been getting better."
P-Doc is heartened by Mike Leake's performance last night
but is still curbing his enthusiasm. "Is he a guy to lead the Reds back to 1st place? Nope. That guy is J. Cueto. Is he someone The Club can count on for six decent innings every time out? Not yet. Could he be? Yup. Since returning from ‘Ville, Leake has made seven starts, gone 4-2 and pitched at least 6 innings every time. He has walked just 8 hitters in 47 innings. Can he be some glue for an underachieving rotation? We’ll see."
Hiroki Kuroda could be a potential target for the Reds if they are looking to improve the starting rotation
Unfortunately, he has a no-trade clause and according to lil' Kenny Rosenthal he will require "compensation" to waive it. He is making $12 mil this year in LA and even though they may be looking to dump payroll, the extra "compensation" would probably push him out of the Reds' price range. Or at the very least, make him cost-prohibitive for them to acquire. He's a good pitcher, but he's probably not worth the $6 mil or so plus a prospect to make it happen. The Reds could ask the Dodgers to pick up the money, but with them in bankruptcy currently I highly doubt they would be inclined to do so.
The more attractive target, in my opinion, is the man taking the mound against the Reds in tomorrow's tilt, James Shields. If the Rays are mired in 3rd place at the end of July they could look to move him. He's probably the only true-ace pitcher that could possibly hit the market this summer, and so would cost a butt load to get. Fortunately, "butt load" is the precise modifier most GMs are using to describe the Reds' quantity of prospects at the moment.
It appears that Brandon Phillips has gotten passed his "swing out of his shoes" phase
and has settled in as a top-of-the-order kind of hitter. For now, anyway. He's 16 for his last 32 and won the Joe Nuxhall Memorial Star of the Game Award last night. "I really haven't been thinking about hitting home runs like I used to back in the past," Phillips said. "I said, 'I'm going to go back to my old self and be me,' instead of trying to worry about my batting average or a lot of things. I want to go out there and be myself and do what I do best. Whatever happens, happens."
Miguel Cairo is the last surviving member of the original '98 vintage of Tampa Bay Devil Rays
"I'm very thankful and grateful for what I have and for what I've accomplished all these years," Cairo said. "To be the last man standing from that '98 season, it feels good that I'm still playing and that I can do it and I can still help a major-league team. I've still got that fire. I still love it."
Grant Brisbee looks at the seasons former wunderkinds Dontrelle Willis and Oliver Perez are having
and takes heart. They are both only 29 years old, even though it seems like they've been around since the first Bush administration. Here's his take on Willis:
"Willis has been as good, but he's been doing it for a larger sample. The Reds have already used nine (!) starting pitchers this year, and the rotation is still in flux, with Travis Wood recently bounced from the rotation. Willis isn't on the 40-man roster, but he stands out as one of the better starters on the Reds' organizational depth chart. Again, it's the control that's especially encouraging. Willis was historically wild when he was released. While his walk rate isn't superlative for triple-A, it's a far cry from what led to him being a baseball vagabond."
I'd love to see Willis succeed in the bigs again, mostly because it would be for my team, but mostly because he's such a nice guy. Here's hopin'.
Check out this kid's arm
Johnny Damon and Juan Pierre just looked toward each other and then quickly looked the other way.