Finally, the Orioles found a suitor.
It took a while to find someone who would be willing to grab Ramon Hernandez from the Orioles, but it has indeed occurred.
Here are the details that I have heard thus far: the Orioles are sending catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds for utility man Ryan Freel and two prospects (reported as being a young 2nd baseman and a young 3rd baseman, both under 24 years old).
Time for my take.
First off, I must once again congratulate Mr. Andy MacPhail for pulling off yet another deal to help a rebuilding club. This is a deal that I thought wouldn't happen, largely due to the fact that Hernandez's numbers took a dip last season.
The fact of the matter is, though, that it is done. A press conference has already been scheduled, and I am loving it!
The O's not only receive a solid utility man in Ryan Freel (hit .298 in 131 at-bats last season), but they also steal two prospects. In all honesty, I believe that Hernandez straight-up for the two prospects would have worked out just fine.
Now how does this deal look in the long run?
Now with Ramon out of the way, the path to the majors will be much more simple for top prospect Matt Weiters. For now, Weiters could be the favorite to win the starting job come opening day.
In other rumor news, the O's have reportedly looked at former Blue Jay Gregg Zaun as a stop-gap catcher until Weiters is ready.
Also, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun has just announced that the Orioles are now closing in on a deal with 28 year-old switch-hitting shortstop Cesar Izturis. I like the move, due to the fact that it shouldn't cost the O's a large sum of money, and he's still young (not to forget that he has also won a Gold Glove Award).
For more information on the O's, be sure to check out my "Around the Diamond" series, which I plan to be continuing on Thursday as I check in on youngster Adam Jones in centerfield.