The Trade Season started with a bang. The Boston Red Sox front office, having watched arch-rival New York finish off Philadelphia, decided to make a move, a sensible one at that. Before they traded Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Sox inquired about a three-way deal that would land them Florida Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida .
That proposal didn’t gain any traction, and Hermida stayed with the Marlins, but despite missing out on his services, Boston remained infatuated with him and his potential, hoping he would someday be part of their quest for a World Series championship.
That someday was today. In need of outfield depth, General Manager Theo Epstein traded the organization’s 44th and 45th prospects, lefthanded pitchers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez , to Florida for Hermida, who is only 25 years old.
Hermida, a 6′3″, 200-pounder, is a former top prospect in the Marlins system, and in nearly 2,000 career appearances, has put up underwhelming numbers considering his hype: .265 batting average, 57 homers, and 210 RBI in 516 games.
Though he has had a disappointing first few years in the majors, disappointing enough for the Marlins to give up on him, the Red Sox believe a bright future is ahead. Epstein, upon making the trade, said “He hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet. We acquired him today to see if he can fulfill that potential.”
Jones and Alvarez were a small price to pay for a low-risk player who could pay immense dividends in Boston. He has a fluid swing, plate discipline, and though he doesn’t hit for a substantial amount of power, the short porch in right field at Fenway Park, as well as the Green Monster in left, could go along ways to increase his production.
Designated hitter David Ortiz doesn’t have much left in the tank. Third baseman Mike Lowell can still hit, but a hip injury has slowed him considerably. Their lineup is getting old, and has players on the decline, so a young fresh face could do wonders for their wherewithal, especially if he succeeds as the Marlins once believed he could.
Boston seems keen on re-signing left-fielder Jason Bay, who, despite striking out nearly a third of the time last season, put up huge numbers with the team. This would be a smart move, and would allow the Red Sox to work Hermida into the system, give him some spot starts, see what he’s made of, and then give him the starting job in right-field once J.D. Drew’s contract runs out after the 2011 season.
Hermida welcomed the change in scenery:
“The change of scenery will be good for me,” he said. “Boston has a lot of older guys who can teach me about the game and we can talk hitting. I know Mike Lowell pretty well and I played with Josh (Beckett) a little. This is a great thing for me.”
“I feel rejuvenated. I had a feeling I’d be traded and going to Boston is better than I could have expected.”
The Red Sox acquired him on a whim, taking a risk that this “can’t miss” prospect that the Marlins were tired of waiting on turns into something. Having this optimism is a good start for the kid. Boston may have just found a diamond in the rough.