Potential Trade Targets: Ramon Hernandez

By David Hill

The Tampa Bay Rays need a catcher. This has been true for the vast majority of their history, aside for the random Dioner Navarro All-Star season in 2008 or when Toby Hall was more than mediocre in 2005 (ironically, Hall was part of the trade that got Navarro on June 27, 2006). Catcher seems to be the one spot that the Rays have had problems developing, or acquiring, throughout the past 15 years.

Ramon Hernandez happens to be a solid offensive catcher, and is currently on an awful squad. The Colorado Rockies sit at 25-41, 16 games out of first in the NL West. Moreover, the Rockies have top prospect Wilin Rosario, who has been hitting home runs and playing fairly well while Hernandez has been on the DL with a strained left hand.

When Hernandez returns, he is likely to be the backup while the Rockies find out if Rosario can be a viable major league catcher. Given his track record, and inexpensive contract (2 years, $6.2Million), Hernandez could be an attractive option for a team needing help behind the plate. Enter the Rays.

Hernandez, at age 34 with a recent injury history, would likely not command a large premium on the trade market. However, he is exactly the type of player the Rays need – a steady veteran presence behind the plate who can actually hit the ball with some authority. The two year contract also would be a draw for the Rays, since they do not have a lot of help coming up on the catching front.

If nothing else, Hernandez would likely be an upgrade offensively over what the Rays have had behind the plate this year. Combined, Rays catcher have had a .204 batting average in 220 at bats, with only 3 home runs and 19 RBIs. Hernandez would be better almost by default.

Should the Rays make a move for a catcher at the trading deadline, Ramon Hernandez could be a solid option that would not break the bank.