The Tigers traded minor league outfielder Michael Hernandez to the Rangers today for minor league starting pitcher Armando Galarraga. Hernandez led the Flying Tigers last year with 20 homers and between High A and Double A, he belted 24 homers but at the age of 24, he has just a .320 career on base percentage. He did drive in 106 runs in his two stops and he looks like his ceiling could be similar to a guy like Craig Monroe. He won’t hit for average or draw many walks and while he’ll strike out his share of times, his power will give him some solid RBI numbers. I think the Tigers can do better so I’m not too upset to see him go.
Armando Galarraga was signed by the Expos (yes, the Expos) way back in 1998 and he’s spent eight seasons in the minor leagues. He was dealt to the Rangers in the Alfonso Soriano trade back in 2005 and his 2006 season was an odd one. He looked very good at Double A with 114 strikeouts and 47 walks in 127 2/3 innings but when he got bumped up to Triple A and eventually to the Rangers, his control left him and and he struck out 27 while walking 29 in 33 1/3 innings in those two stops.
After a critical review in last year’s book, John Sickels lightens up on the most recent installment of the Baseball Prospect Book. He doesn’t predict stardom but he gives him a C+ grade (Hernandez received a C) and said that best case, he could see some time at the back of a major league rotation.
Here’s why I like this trade. Michael Hernandez wouldn’t have seen the light of day with the Tigers anytime in the next few years. The Tigers took him as a non drafted free agent and dealt him for a mid tier pitching prospect who, at some point in the next couple of years, could actually help the team. It wouldn’t surprise me if, after an injury or two in the pen, we see Galarraga in a Tigers uniform in 2008.