Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap. This is one of those times.
On December 9, 2008, Walt Jocketty made arguably his best trade since being named the General Manager of the Reds. At the time, it might not have seemed that way. Looking back, I think there’s little question that the deal between the Reds and the Baltimore Orioles landed squarely in favor of the good guys.
Freel was the prize, so to speak. He was the player with the MLB experience. In parts of six seasons as a Red, Freel notched 30+ steals in three consecutive seasons (2004-2006). He was also extremely versatile defensively. During his Cincy tenure, Freel played in no less than five different defensive positions (second base, third base and all three outfield positions).
And Freel was a top of the lineup guy. He p[osted nice career numbers from the leadoff spot (.271/.363/.376) to go along with his better than average on-base percentage (.357 as a Red). He also never seemed to lack hustle. With Freel, it was 100% on 100% of the time.
But Freel was entering the final year of his contract as the 2009 season approached. He was to make $4 million and then, who knows? The O’s proceeded to trade Freel to the Chicago Cubs just one month into 2009. The Cubs sent the even speedier Joey Gathright to Baltimore. Freel lasted two months in Chicago before the Kansas City Royals purchased him in July, 2009 making the Royals the last MLB uniform Freel would don. He was released in August of that same year.
The Texas Rangers signed Freel that same month, but it was never the same. On May 17 of 2010, Free announced his retirement from baseball.
Justin Turner was an interesting inclusion…and he wasn’t around the O’s organization for long either. Well, maybe a little longer than Freel anyway. The O’s waived Turner in May 2010. On the 25th of that month, the New York Mets claimed Turner. We know how it is now for the Reds’ 7th round selection of 2006. Turner started 102 games for the Mets last season. He appears to have the second base job loced down as we head into 2012.
Waring? He had played first and third for the Dayton Dragons during the 2008 season. Then, this trade was made. Some Dragons fans may remember him. In 2008, Waring played in 119 games and posted a slash of .270/.346/.467 with 20 HR and 71 RBI. Like Turner, he was also a 7th round pick, but taken in the 2007 draft, a year after of Turner’s selection. Waring has not progressed past Double-A level.
Reds fans are well aware of what Ramon Hernandez brought to the Reds. He was called “Clutch Man Monie” because he was just that…clutch. And his Reds career is something to behold. No, it won’t get him into the Reds Hall of Fame, but it is a bit impressive: slash of .280/.348/.413 with 24 HR and 121 RBI in 269 games played.
But maybe the most lasting impression of Hernandez will be this…
But Hernandez was not re-signed by the Reds and for the next two seasons, he will be behind the plate for the Colorado Rockies. “Clutch Man Monie” will be missed, but it is time to see if Devin Mesoraco is ready.
Yes, this was a tremendous trade by Jocketty.