With the signing of Brayan Pena last month, the proverbial writing was on the wall for Reds veteran backstop, Ryan Hanigan. Today, the Tampa Bay Rays went out and got their man in a three-team deal involving the Reds and Diamondbacks.
Ever since his arrival with the Reds, it has been intended that Devin Mesoraco take over the everyday catching duties for a franchise that has a long lineage of elite catchers. Even Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty believes so: “Devin Mesoraco will have the opportunity to become a front-line catcher for us.” This move did not seem to be predicated on a lack of satisfaction with the job that Ryan Hanigan was doing, but rather a business decision.
At the time of the deal, the Diamondbacks had announced that high profile, big contract reliever Heath Bell was being traded away. Initial thoughts and logic put two and two together that the Reds may have just acquired yet another top-of-the-line late-inning reliever. Ultimately, the Rays were found to have also swung Bell, meaning that the Reds would acquire from the Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher, David Holmberg.
Many fans were initially up in arms at the move as Hanigan has been a reliable member of two division winning clubs and now here he was, being swapped for a young prospect with only one Major League start that did not turn out well. On the surface, the move may be puzzling. If one allows themself to dive deeper, the move can be seen with more clarity. Ryan Hanigan had become a dispensable part of the franchise and in order to restock a Minor League pitching system that needs a makeover, acquiring someone with the talent of Holmberg became a necessity. So, who is this David Holmberg? While he may not be big-league ready just yet, prior to last season, Holmberg was the sixth-highest rated prospect in the Diamondbacks organization. Last season at Double-A Mobile, Holmberg posted a 2.75 ERA and had a 1.19 WHIP in over 157 innings of action. It would be expected that Holmberg reports to Triple-A Louisville for the start of the season.