FWIW, Devin Mesoraco currently leads the International League
in OPS (.967). It will soon be time for him to come to Cincinnati and see how he does. At least a September 'cup of coffee'.
I prefer that the Reds trade Ramon Hernandez. My hunch is that the Reds think that way too, since he is on a one year contract, and Hanigan is on the first year of a three year contract.
Ryan Hanigan is 30 years old (turns 31 this August). This is currently in his fifth season with the Reds. Hanigan is earning $450 K this year, $1.2 million next year, and $2 million in 2013. Hanigan's number are down this year. He is currently hitting .258/.358/.328 for an OPS of .686. However, month by month, he has been improving, and has been much hotter in June than in April. However, to the degree that the numbers matter to other teams, he won't be as attractive as Ramon.
Ramon Hernandez is now 35 years old, and this is already his 13th season in MLB, and his 3rd year with the Reds. Ramon is earning a salary of $3 million this season, and is not under contract for next year. Ramon's numbers this year are quite good: .316/.374/.526 for an OPS of .900. His numbers make him a good 'sell high' candidate.
I think that the salary will matter to the Reds. By trading Ramon, they can afford to take on much more salary this season than they could by trading Hanigan. Ramon also has experience playing in the AL, and would be likely to make a decent adjustment to that league.
I do agree that there will be some serious reluctance to make a trade. How much value can we expect for a 35 year old catcher not under contract for next year? What will it do to 'team chemistry' to trade a well liked veteran away in the middle of the season? How important is is to have a native spanish speaker catch for Cueto, Volquez, Chapman, Cordero, etc...?
Walt will have to think carefully and make the right decision here. My guess is that he won't trade Ramon unless he gets a good offer that would really help the Reds. I don't think it is likely that we get a TOR starter. Why would any team in playoff contention trade a solid starter for a 35 year old catcher? I see us getting a LF or SS that is about the same age. Ramon to the Dodgers for Furcal? Maybe....Something like that.
However, if we keep him through 2011, offer him arbitration, and then lose him after the season, with his numbers this year he may well be a type A free agent, giving us two compensation picks next June. The top 20% of players at each positional grouping are labeled as Type A players, and if those players are free agents, they are designated "Type A Free Agents."