During the news conference yesterday to announce the deal between the Cincinnati Reds and Orioles, Reds GM Walt Jocketty used the terms "good leadership" and "good defense" to describe Ramon Hernandez, which made me wonder if he was talking about the same Ramon Hernandez that we've been watching the past couple of years.
Our Ramon lacked intensity and forgot how to block pitches in the dirt. Our Ramon fell into bad habits handling the young Orioles pitching staff and didn't hustle on the basepaths. Our Ramon didn't seem like a leader or a particularly good catcher at the end of his brief Orioles career. And, believe it or not, Jocketty acknowledged all that.
"Yeah, that was part of our report that we got from our scouts, and not from just one,'' he said. "We did notice that -- they had seen him in the past and saw him again this year and felt that there was probably some level of frustration that he was experiencing, and we talked about it. I did some research on it with other people that I know that have had him and got great reports, so we do think that a change of scenery will help him immensely."
I'm skeptical, but Andy MacPhail did not argue with that assessment during his media briefing later in the day and said Hernandez is still a quality offensive player at a position where the value of offensive production is at a premium.
"If you rank him offensively, you're going to see Ramon is in the top half,'' he said. "It's hard to make the case the Reds didn't improve their offense with Ramon."