I have been pushing for Orioles to get aggressive and trade away veterans like Ramon Hernandez and it is good to see them finally make some noise. Good for you, Andy McPhail.
It appears as though Orioles have traded starting catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds for Ryan Freel and two prospects. This move makes all the sense in the world for both sides, which seems to be rarity on the trading market these days.
For the Orioles, Hernandez became expendable because of the assent of C Matt Wieters, who will likely start next season for the Orioles. Wieters is one of the best prospects in baseball and the Orioles should be committed to letting him play and develop. This is a sound move for the Orioles' future and fans should flock to Camden Yards to see young Wieters behind the dish.
We'll see where Ryan Freel fits in with the Orioles plans. There is no doubt that the guy is a gamer, who can flat out fly, but you have to winder whether Freel can stay healthy or not. At worst, Freel is a quality utility man, who can pinch run late in games. But, if it was up to me, I would trade Melvin Mora and have Freel play third. I have written before that the Orioles need to maximize the potential return for Mora to aid their rebuilding process, and now is a great time to move Mora.
As for the Reds, this move was an absolute necessity. The Reds have no capable catchers on their 40 man roster and Hernandez provides them stability for the upcoming season (and beyond if they pick up his option). Hernandez is much better than anyone the Reds could have gotten via free agency and should benefit from playing in the hitter friendly environment of Great American Ballpark. Freel was a good player for the Reds, but I guess they viewed him as expendable because of his inability to stay healthy. It's hard to judge a guy's performance, when he cannot consistently get on the field.
I still don't think this move makes the Reds competitive in 2009 because they still have yet to address their central need: pitching.