Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Jeremy Hermida
As I mentioned earlier, this is an exercise at some of the low profile names the Cubs could or should look at this offseason. And remeber, these articles are designed to just start the discussion, not settle the case one way or another.
I think it's a fair assumption that the Cubs will be likely focusing at second base and either center or right field along with some bullpen help. So today's guest is another possible non-tender candidate, Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida.
Hermida was the 11th pick in the 2002 draft and was the top Marlins prospect from 2004 to 2006 according to Baseball America.
As we see here, nothing too special from his major league career besides a decent season in 2007 at age 23. His minor league numbers ended with an .834 OPS and that went up dramatically pretty much each year as his power developed. There's little denying his talent as the Red Sox were considering him as the main attraction in a Manny Ramirez trade before moving on to Jason Bay. On the other hand, there have been plenty of whispers about his attitude and general lack of fire about playing baseball.
Defensively, UZR at Fangraphs doesn't think too highly of him, nor does the Fan's Scouting Report, while BP's Rate 2 numbers have him at 103 out of right field for his career. A scouting report from John Sickels in 2006 didn't make him sound like anything more than an average right fielder.
On the bright side, his career splits are a .721 OPS at pitcher-friendly Landshark Stadium versus an .815 on the road. If you look at the year-by-year splits, there was a particular stunning discrepany in 2007 and 2008, so a change of scenery might be the match strike to get his career going. And at age 26 next year, a team would be hoping his best years are still to come.
He made $2.25M last year in his first year of arbitration eligibility, although the two sides settled before going to an arbitation hearing. I don't think there would be any shortage of interest in Hermida if the Marlins starting shopping, it just depends on what the Marlins will be asking or how much they want to save the money.
Much like Kelly Johnson, if the price is right I'm all for taking a shot at a 26-year old with a high ceiling and some major league success. Of course, the Marlins may want to move on, but they know what kind of talent they have as well and I would expect a pretty decent market for him if he is indeed shopped in the trade market. And if they just decide to non-tender him, you'd have to expect a bunch of small market teams are going to make their run at him with more playing time guarantees than the Cubs could offer.