Friday, October 23, 2009

Ramon Hernandez and the Catching Market

The weak crop of free agent catchers might become slightly more interesting:
The $8.5 club option ($1M buyout) must be exercised or declined on catcher Ramon Hernandez. That doesn't have to be decided until soon after the World Series. My take: the Reds won't pick up the option but will try to re-negotiate for a lower-priced deal.
As I see it, there are two sides to this story.

Side 1: The Reds would be making the smart move by not picking up Hernandez's option. The team simply cannot afford to spend $8.5 million in 2010 to an aging catcher.

Side 2: If the Reds don't pick up the option, Hernandez might find a litany of suitors on the free agent market. The free agent crop of catchers in pretty weak this season (led by Benjie Molina and Rod Barajas) and there's a good chance Hernandez could bolt. With that in mind, would the Reds feel comfortable letting Ryan Hanigan play full time behind the plate in 2010?

I think it's pretty safe to say that the Reds will not pick up the option. When that happens, does Hernandez become the most attractive catcher on the free agent market despite his disappointing 2009 season? He's only 33 years old, calls a very good game, and still has some pop in his bat (despite hitting only 5 HR this year). Is there any possibility that Hernandez could land a multi year contract with another club?


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Anonymous said...

Hernandez is worth $4 million tops these days. He can't catch more than 120 games and he's lost his pop. He's comparable to Jose Molina with a little better bat and worse arm. No team will sign him to a big deal.

Jorge Says No! said...

Hernandez is a far superior hitter than Jose Molina. Saying that Hernandez is only a little better than Molina isn't fair. Hernandez missed lots of time this season because of injuries, but he has shown that when he is healthy, he can hit 10-20 home runs and be a productive force in the middle-end of the lineup.