Marlins fans everywhere are fairly assured that Jeremy Hermida, once a young prospect with a bright future in the organization, is likely on his way out of Florida. Barring some unforeseen change of heart from the Marlins front office, Hermida exit was all but sealed after another forgettable season at the plate and on the field. Hermida mustered a meager .259/.348/.392 slash line, good for a .329 wOBA and essentially average offensive production even after park adjustment. In the field, Hermida continued to struggle, as UZR had him at -8.8 runs between left and right field. Hermida also ranked poorly among the fans in the Fans Scouting Report this season. Though the defensive impact may indeed be slightly overstated, Hermida still had an awful season overall given the fact that he was an average hitter and below average fielder at the second easiest defensive position.
What lies in the future for the former first round draft pick of 2002? It is possible that Hermida could be a non-tender candidate for the Marlins. However, the Marlins would be absurd not to consider any potential trade options for him this offseason. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com says that there is a trade market for Hermida, despite the fading luster of prospectdom. Friend of the Maniac’s Wally Fish of Kings of Kauffman was also quite interested in Jeremy Hermida, proposing him in his KoK Offseason Proposal series as a target for the Kansas City Royals to acquire. There may indeed be some interest. Let’s take a look at some of the teams mentioned by Frisaro, along with the Royals, and see if Hermida is a viable option at any of these teams.
Let’s get one thing through right at the onset. The return for Hermida is going to be minimal regardless of the trade partner. Looking at traditional offensive statistics, Hermida never appeared all that favorable outside of 2007, and even the most statistics-savvy teams are going to note his continual drop in power. Essentially, he’s a low average, high-OBP slugger without the slugging part, according to his career statistics. Most teams are also wise to the fact that his defense is marginal at best, meaning
Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays may hold some interest in Hermida because of their lack of a third outfielder. It is very likely that propsect Travis Snider will take over one of the corners and, unfortunately for the Jays, Vernon Wells and his disastrous contract will take care of center field, but currently the Jays have no third regular outfielder. Presumably, they could run Adam Lind out there and DH someone else (Randy Ruiz did a great job at DH at the end of the year), but it is possible the Jays could be interested in keeping Lind mostly at DH and acquiring a third outfielder to play three to four times a week.
That being said, I don’t think the Jays are interested in taking on any more salary. The Jays are looking at entering 2010 with $63M tied up in salary, and they do have a few arbitration cases and the issues of attempting to resign shortstop Marco Scutaro and catcher Rod Barajas. Hermida figures to make something in the $4M range, and the Jays would probably balk at paying that much to a third/fourth outfielder.
The Mariners are one smart organization, so I’m sure they are quite aware of the flaws of Jeremy Hermida. They also have quite a few potential holes to fill, one of them being left field, though they do have their share of options. If the team decides to go internally, they have Michael Saunders, who did see decent playing time this season, available for use. The Mariners also seem to be in a bit of an in-between predicament in terms of paying to compete or allowing their players to develop. I’ve heard rumors regarding second baseman Jose Lopez coming over in a trade involving Hermida and other players.
In my mind, however, this is also a no-go. If the Mariners want to fill their outfield holes, they’ll likely do it in the free agent market, where there is a plethora of available players. If a deal is to be made, the Marlins would have to pump in some help, and I don’t think the team is willing to put in prospects to help Hermida’s value. Packaging him with Dan Uggla, for example, seems like a more likely option.
Tampa Bay Rays
I’m going to go ahead and shoot this one down immediately. The Rays have zero need for another outfielder because the club happens to have so much depth. The Rays are likely to pick up Carl Crawford’s option for the season, leaving them with only a “gap” in right field, which they seem more than happy to fill with Gabe Gross and the recently resigned Gabe Kapler. In addition, the team could go with super-utility man Ben Zobrist in the outfield and still have a plethora of infield options at second base, particularly the recently acquired Sean Rodriguez. The Rays are deep enough that this idea simply won’t hold water.
New York Mets
The Mets, on the other hand, would seem to be a realistic, if not infuriating, trade partner. The team has a legitimate hole in left field, one that they have not been able to fill since the start of the season. I am unsure as to what the team would have to offer to the Marlins in terms of cheap, cost-controlled players, but I imagine the Mets do have some relievers of that kind, and a deal involving just Hermida would likely net a reliever in return. The potential hole in this plan is the Mets’ money; they are said to be in the sweepstakes for Matt Holliday, and would likely not need Hermida if Holliday was acquired. Here, we’ll have to keep an eye out.
Kansas City Royals
Again, Wally over at KoK did some nice work breaking down Hermida and asking who the Royals would have to give in return. Hermida makes sense for the Royals because, quite frankly, they have terrible options otherwise, ranging from Mitch Maier to Jose Guillen. I suggested former top draft pick Luke Hochevar as compensation, mostly because I knew him and recognized that he had struggled this season if you looked at his ERA. However, peripherally he was a league average pitcher, and he’d be moving to the National League, where it’s obviously much easier to pitch. Wally offers Anthony Lerew, and I went ahead and looked him up.
Lerew is a 28-year old righty with only 35 innings of experience at the major league level. In those 35 innings, spread across four different cups of coffee, the numbers have not been pretty: he’s struck out only 22 hitters while walking 20 unintentionally, and he’s also allowed nine homers. He appears to be a heavy fly ball pitcher who can’t miss bats, and the Marlins could probably do a lot better than that, though perhaps Lerew himself could benefit from a move to the bullpen, something that would definitely occur in a Marlins uniform.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that the Royals would not have a better offer, or that the Marlins may not find better offers elsewhere. The team should definitely consider all options with Hermida before giving up and non-tendering him. While he may not still hold the promise of 2007 in him, he’s still 26 years old and can certainly improve, perhaps with a change of scenery.