Much has been said and written about the two-headed catcher on the Cincinnati Reds known affectionately as ‘Hernigan’. It is simply a confluence of the names Hernandez and Hanigan.
Part of the reason that Ryan Hanigan gets as much time in as he does is because Bronson Arroyo has made him his Designated Catcher. If you are old enough to recall the seventies, Steve Carlton chose Tim McCarver as his battery mate. Steve Severson reports that it was said ” that when they died, they would be buried 60 feet 6 inches (the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate) apart.”
Neither is making any money, as baseball money goes. Ramon Hernandez pulls in almost $3M this season while Hanigan is just over minimum wage.
With the playoff push in full vigor, and the Reds looking at it in their rear-view mirror, some scenarios must be examined.
Hernandez value now is as high as it probably has ever been or at least, ever will be again. He is having a good season with a slash line of .298/.356/.475 with 11 HR and 33 RBI. His defense is average-to-good and his pitcher management is second to none in my book.
Would it be prudent for the Reds to at least see what they could get for the aging All-Star? He will be freed up at the end of the season and can do what he wants. Something is better than nothing.
Besides the current catching conundrum on the major league level, Cincinnati is growing two first round draft choices on the farm.
In Triple A- Louisville, Devin Mesoraco who was a first round draft choice in 2007, is ripe for plucking and could probably start a game tomorrow for the Reds.
Further down in the pecking order, but unlike Mesoraco, a member of the Reds 40-man roster, Yasmani Grandal is toiling with the Double A- Carolina Mudcats.
I think it is likely that you will see one of the two prospects in the September call ups. Of course it would be easier if it were Grandal because he is already rostered. Some maneuvering would need to be done to get Mesoraco to the big leagues.
Back to the point, what can be done with the Hernigan tandem? Hanigan would bring less value to the table and return would be very limited. It is clear that neither of them fit in the Reds long range plans.
Hernandez is 35 and Hanigan is no spring chicken at 31. It would seem the sensible thing to do would be trade Hernandez and leave Hanigan to groom his replacement, whichever it will be.
Grandal, a 2008 team mate of Reds hitter (don’t know what to call him defensively) Yonder Alonso at the University of Miami, has split this season with Single A- Bakersfield and Carolina. He has a combined line of .296/.389/.499 with 14 HR and 63 RBI.
With the Louisville Bats this season Mesoraco has 13 HR and 63 RBI with a line of .292/.376/.485.
With nearly identical offensive numbers it doesn’t look like it matters which one the Reds call up to replace the one-headed catcher left standing. Now that my friends, is a problem worth having.