SweetSpot: Jeremy Hermida

Stand by your man (at least for a little while)

May, 14, 2010
With the Red Sox falling to 18-17 with Wednesday night’s loss to Toronto, the Fenway faithful are growing ever more frustrated with the team’s journey to the cold, dark annals of the AL East basement.

There are no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts” about it: The team is frantically treading water -- if not outright drowning -- in need of both a spark and better personnel to reclaim its playoff hopes.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
Kelvin Ma/Icon SMIDavid Ortiz is batting .200 through Boston's first 35 games this season.
While individual players struggle on Boston’s squad every season, the imperfections of the 2010 Red Sox incarnation have been much harder to endure.

Victor Martinez is underachieving at the moment, though he can be expected to turn it around. Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury continue to work back from injury while Darnell McDonald and Jeremy Hermida admirably attempt to fill the void.

Fortunately, the Boston front office is too well managed and too intelligent to scapegoat a single player or staff member for the team’s woes (paging: Seattle and Alan Cockrell).

Unfortunately, there are serious, gaping holes in the team’s once-shimmering armor -- and one, in particular, has endured for two seasons now: the plight of David Ortiz.

With a .200/.274/.412 line through his first 85 at-bats, countless members of the Boston media have clamored for his benching, even hinting at his possible release.

And, at this point in the season, what other choice does Boston have? The internal options are few.

Triple-A Pawtucket has plenty of future major leaguers, but none who can be entrusted with the offensive requirements of a playoff-caliber designated hitter.

Buttressing the existing platoons already in place will help, but in lieu of this, the team’s best option seems to lie outside the organization.

The catch is, these precious few options are dwindling by the day.

Complicating matters are the unexpected hot starts of perennial cellar-dwellers, while the team’s affinity for hulking first basemen Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder make the search all the more arduous.

With their known preference for Fielder or Gonzalez as a long-term fix, Boston is limited to candidates who are both expendable to their trade partner while not interfering with the club’s ability to acquire either first baseman on or before their impending free agency in 2011.

This leaves few viable candidates.

(Read full post)

Where Hermida fits with Red Sox

November, 6, 2009
I wasn't sure what to make of the Red Sox trading for Jeremy Hermida, so I went to Fire Brand of the American League.

    Hermida is very unlikely to be a starting outfielder for the Boston club next year, but he’s solid depth in case things go awry. Only turning 26, the potential is there for him to realize what made him said 11th pick in the draft.

    He’s a left-handed bat, and he has a rather steep platoon split over his career: .792 OPS against right-handers, .697 against lefties. This past season, his OPS was .786 against righties and .601 against lefties. Even if he never learns how to hit left-handed pitching, this guy is very capable of being our brand new Trot Nixon ...

    If Hermida opens the season as a starting outfielder (even if it’s in a platoon situation), it will signal that Boston views 2010 as a transitional year; a year that the team can compete, but not at a high level.
There's no way that "Boston" heads into 2010 aiming for anything less than 95 wins and a trip to the World Series. If Jason Bay's not re-signed and Hermida winds up in left field, he'll have a decent platoon partner and the Red Sox won't be awful in left field. Granted, they won't be as good as they were in 2009, which means they'll have to improve somewhere else. The two obvious candidates are shortstop and catcher and they're already on track to improve at both positions with full seasons from Alex Gonzalez and Victor Martinez. Throw in little bounce-backs from (still) youngsters Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, and I'd say the Red Sox are one right-handed bat away from having a lineup with which they can feel confident in.