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Red Sox land OF Jeremy Hermida

     Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein began his offseason Friday by trading for Florida Marlins ex-top prospect Jeremy Hermida. The Red Sox traded AAA lefty reliever Hunter Jones and AA lefty Jose Alvarez. Both had successful seasons and are regarded as mid-level prospects, at best.

     Jeremy Hermida, drafted by Florida with the 11th-overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, had an immense ceiling as a prospect, and debuted with the Marlins in 2005. Regarded as a five-tool talent, Hermida impressed in his 'cup of coffee', hitting .293, slugging .634, with an OPS of 1.017, stealing two bases in 23 games.

     However, his career has stalled since. He had an OPS of .700 the following season, playing 99 games and a small role for the Marlins. In 2007, he had what appeared to be a breakout campaign, hitting .296 with 18 home runs in just 123 games as a 22-year old, but he has regressed, getting on-base at a .335 clip since then.

     Hermida is still just 25 years old. Epstein and the Red Sox see that he still has the tools to be a major-league caliber player, and will try to polish off his development.

     His role has yet to be defined as a Red Sox. As of now, is essentially insurance in case the Red Sox cannot bring back Left Fielder Jason Bay. Hermida can be an average big league player (career 102 OPS+), so the Red Sox wouldn't be mortified to have him starting out there, with the potential for improvement.

     If the Red Sox re-sign Bay, or acquire another big bat in Left, Hermida would likely be a left-handed bat off the bench and fourth outfielder. This is probably bad news for Rocco Baldelli if he intended on returning to the Red Sox, as teh Red Sox are unlikely to carry five outfielders. If Hermida does end up with the Opening Day assignment, Baldelli could return, as the Red Sox would have an all left-handed outfield.

     For now, though, this is another patented Epstein Depth Option, and should be viewed as nothing more. There is still hope Bay will be back.


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