What has been clearly explained by both principals in the deal -- Jocketty and McPhail -- is that Hernandez may benefit from a change of scenery. He was not real motivated in Baltimore in 08, apparently, so it remains to be seen to what extent his performance, particularly on the defensive side, is attributable to declining skills. Factor in that he'll be playing for a contract and I think one can be reasonably optimistic that Hernandez will be better in 09.The Reds basically got an aging catcher with declining offensive skills (Orioles Park isn't exactly Petco) and a defensive game that basically looks to be declining faster than the price of homes near a GM plant. There probably is some room for upside with his bat though. Mostly though, the Reds get a recognizable name to stick behind the plate. Given lousy defense is more like internal hemorrhaging than a Freddy Kruger moment, I suspect many will be happy if he hits .270 and he actually catches throws to the plate (in other words some might think this deal is much more meaningful than I think it probably is).
This isn't a criticism-the calculus basically works on this one IMHO (the '09 roster is likely improved though the question is how much?)-but what happened to a new found commitment to improving the defense (kicked the tires on Dye and pulled the trigger on Hernandez)?