The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today they have sent catcher John Hester to the Baltimore Orioles to complete the Dec. 6, 2010 trade in which the D-backs acquired right-handed pitchers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio for infielder Mark Reynolds, according to D-backs' Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers. Hester, 27, hit .263 (10-for-38) with 4 runs, 3 doubles, a home run and 5 RBI in 10 games with Triple-A Reno this season. He batted .220 (27-for-123) with 13 runs, 9 doubles, 3 home runs and 11 RBI in 53 games over two seasons with the D-backs.
We'd been wondering about that one since the trade went down in December. Generally, when it's a player to be named later, it's because he hasn't been in the sending team's farm system long enough to be dealt, but that's not the case for Hester. I think I speak for most Diamondbacks fans when I say, "Meh." Hester's stock had probably fallen far enough that he was now our #4 catcher in the system, with Konrad Schmidt being apparently ahead of him in line for promotion, should Henry Blanco seize up through lack of use or whatever. At age 27, Hester still has some potential value, but there's a reason why he has 53 major-league appearances and 366 minor-league ones.
As 'charmer Tweeted, it does appear to show confidence in Schmidt. He has already been getting slightly more than half of the playing time for the Reno Aces, having appeared in a dozen games to Hester's ten. But in terms of offensive production he has been clearly well ahead:
Schmidt: .380/.415/.580 = .995 OPS
Hester: ..263/326/.421 = .747 OPS
We're only talking 50 ABs for Schmidt, so small sample size applies, and in 150+ PAs last year for Reno, Hester smacked the ball at an impressive .370/.440/.667 clip.
With that out of the way, we can now really begin to analyze the value of the trade. Thanks to the suck which has been the start of Special K's time in Baltimore, so far it has leaned towards the Diamondbacks, though it's still very early days, obviously. Here are the major-league WAR value of the players involved to date in 2011:
Baltimore: Mark Reynolds (-0.4)., John Hester (0.0) = -0.4 WAR total
Arizona: David Hernandez (0.3), Kam Mickolio (-0.2) = 0.1 WAR total
To date, the D-backs have come out on top, even without considering any salary savings. Reynolds gets $5 million from the Orioles this year, $7.5 million next, and is then a free-agent, while Hernandez and Mickolio are under contract through the end of 2015.