Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Friday, July 29, 2011
Reds should trade Hernandez to Giants

By David Schoenfield

Sorry, Cincinnati, your Reds are done. They're five games under .500, in fourth place, 6.5 games out of first. That's too much distance to make up and too many teams to climb over. The Brewers are eight games over .500; if they play .500 ball, your Reds would need to win 13 in a row just to catch them. And that doesn't even factor in the Cardinals or Pirates. So, yes, your season is over. A season of promise and hope has turned into the most disappointing in baseball.

The next step is obvious: trade catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Giants. Call up top prospect Devin Mesoraco, who is hitting .306/.379/.500 at Triple-A, give him some big league time, let him learn the ropes and get acclimated to catching a big league pitching staff.

I know Dusty Baker loves the vets. But take charge of your franchise. He's still running Bronson Arroyo out there every fifth day. Do you realize he's been one of the least valuable players in baseball this year? He has a 5.59 ERA and has allowed 30 home runs in just 127.1 innings. Only one pitcher has ever allowed that many home runs while pitching so few innings -- Andy Benes allowed 30 in 122 innings for the Cardinals in 2001. Yes, your home ballpark is a bit of a bandbox, but Benes was pitching against juiced-up sluggers with needles hanging out of their thighs. Arroyo is in the new pitcher-friendly environment of 2011.

Yes, I know he's signed for $12 million next year and $11.5 million in 2013. That's why you don't give out expensive contract extensions to starters who average 5.0 strikeout per nine innings, like Arroyo did in 2010. You're stuck with him, but that doesn't mean you have to keep using him.

Anyway, the Giants need a catcher. Get a couple of B-level prospects or maybe one of the Giants' relievers. It's a perfect fit. For the Giants, they've gone all-in. They need another bat in the lineup, however, and Hernandez is hitting .307/.366/.502. This lineup wouldn't be so bad:

Andres Torres, CF
Jeff Keppinger, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Nate Schierholtz/Pat Burrell, LF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Brandon Belt, 1B (for the love of God, please bench Aubrey Huff)
Jamey Carroll, SS
Pitcher

Yes, San Francisco, pick up Jamey Carroll as well. Go for it. Make that push. Back-to-back titles would be pretty sweet, no?

Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter @dschoenfield.