Mission accomplished: O’s reduce payroll

December 09, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Congratulations to Andy MacPhail and the Orioles.

They opened their annual winter meeting efforts today by doing what they’ve become experienced in doing over the last 20 months under MacPhail.  Trimming payroll.

The Birds today shipped catcher Ramon Hernandez ($7.5 million in ’08) to Cincinnati for outfielder Ryan Freel ($3 million) and two prospects that will probably have names in the major leagues…someday, maybe. In general, it’s a good move to get rid of Hernandez, who was mostly disgruntled if not mostly out of shape.  The players said he didn’t have much corazon…in Spanish, that means “heart”.  So it’s probably addition by subtraction getting rid of Ramon.  It paves the way for Matt Wieters to join the team in 2009. Too bad the O’s didn’t have that vision last September when it would have been a good marketing tool to have Wieters up for 50-75 at bats.  Oh well, “vision” and “good marketing” don’t often collide in the same sentence when we’re talking about OUR beloved Birds.  The Birds were so desperate to part with Hernandez and his extra 30 pounds that they even threw in a million bucks to make the deal happen…oh well, they can always hike our MASN rates next year to make up for it.

You’ve heard of Ryan Freel, haven’t you?  

He once played in 143 games back in 2004 for the Reds.

In his last two seasons, he’s played in 123 games.


But we saved roughly $5 million in 2009 with this move today.

Your January cable bill should reflect that savings accordingly when your MASN “fee” gets adjusted based on the savings from Hernandez to Freel.

OK, maybe not.

All in all, though, this goes down as a THUMBS-UP deal for the O’s.  They dispose of a guy who was basically going to be in the way in 2009.  They pick up a journeyman who can steal some bases and fill in where/when needed at a variety of positions.  

And they save money.

Let’s not forget that, right?