On this date, November 5, 2009, the Florida Marlins traded outfielder Jeremy Hermida to the Boston Red Sox for two "C" prospects in Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez, effectively giving up on their former top prospect and expected star.
The Marlins drafted the suburban Atlanta-native Hermida in the first round, 11th overall, in the 2002 draft, and the outfielder wasted little time in beginning to live up to his high talent level. After putting up an OPS of .780 at Single-A Greensboro at the age of 19, Hermida was named the Marlins' top prospect by Baseball America going into 2004. He improved his numbers, especially his power, over the next two seasons at the High-A and Double-A levels, culminating in a .975 OPS and 18 home runs in 2005. Hermida earned his first Major League call-up as well in 2005, hitting a grand slam in his first big league at-bat (one of just four players in history to do so) and OPSing 1.017 in 41 at-bats, and remained Florida's top prospect in both 2005 and 2006. Hermida opened 2006 as Florida's everyday right fielder at the age of 22, and it looked as if he was on his way to a long, productive career with the Marlins. But it never panned out. Injuries limited Hermida the next several years, and he proved unable to improve upon his promising 2007 season, when he hit 18 home runs and OPSd .870 in 123 games. In 2009, his power had declined to the point where he posted a slugging percentage of .392 in just 129 games.
The Marlins had seen enough to judge that Hermida wouldn't realize his potential in Miami and traded the outfielder shortly after the season. On the Red Sox' side, the deal was seen as buying low on a player that still had potential, signified by how little Boston gave up to get Hermida. One was Hunter Jones, an undrafted lefty reliever in 2005 who put up decent numbers in the minors over the next few seasons but posted a 4.25 ERA as a 25-year-old in Triple-A before the trade. The other was Jose Alvarez, a lefty starter who had signed with Boston at the age of 16 and had made it as far as High-A in 2009 before he was traded. While Alvarez was younger and had performed a bit better than Jones, he was considered a lesser prospect; neither of the two were much more than throw-ins that Florida hoped might deliver something down the road.
Neither player did. Jones pitched in 10 games in Triple-A in 2010 and three with the Marlins. He played nowhere in 2010 and has spent the past two seasons in the independent Atlantic League. Alvarez made it as far as Double-A in 2012, but Miami released him after the season. He signed with the Tigers and earned his first call-up this season, showing promise despite a troubling 5.82 ERA in 14 games and six starts. As for Hermida, he hasn't been more than a bench player since the trade. The Red Sox released him late in the 2010 season, and he finished the year with the A's. He spent 2011 and 2012 in the Reds' and Padres' organizations, playing mostly in the minors with an occasional stint with the big league club. After signing with the Indians before the 2013 season, Hermida spent the entire year at Triple-A.
Still only 29, Hermida may yet find a way to harness his talent, but the odds are against him--it appears it'll be a fight for him to even resume the role he once held as a Major League regular. At the time, this trade was essentially two GM's throwing their hands up and saying "what the hell," and four years later, the outcome has reflected that.
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