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Jeremy Hermida is shipping up to Boston.

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It must be nice to be the Boston Red Sox.

But the Florida Marlins? Eh, not so much.

Florida’s room for error is so tremendously small. With baseball’s smallest payroll ($36 million), the club needs production from each and every dollar it spends.

And 2002 first-round pick Jeremy Hermida, the yet-to-bud outfielder with the $4 million price tag, just wasn’t producing enough.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.For a team like Boston though, $4 million for a 25-year-old with all the tools to be a star, is change in the couch cushions. It’s a smart investment, even if the player in question proves to be nothing more than a bench or role player.

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox acquired Hermida and sent minor league lefties Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez to the Marlins.

This is a steal for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox greatly deepened the outfield bench and grabbed a left-handed bench bat that should play well in the friendly confines of Fenway Park. Hermida doesn’t project as a starting outfielder for the team unless Jason Bay is lured away, but he is a great insurance policy for the oft-injured J.D. Drew and Rocco Baldelli.

The fact that the team gave up only two fringe left-handers that have work to do before they break the majors is staggering.

In 2002, Hermida was drafted as the 11th pick. Despite being a high school product, scouts loved his polish. When he hit the High-A Florida State League in 2005, he developed a power stroke that put him on everyone’s big-time prospect list.

In his first extended look in the major leagues in 2006, Hermida failed to tap into that power, hitting five homeruns in half-a-season’s at bats.

His 2007, however, tantalized followers once again. With that sweet left-handed stroke he clubbed 18 homeruns and 32 doubles while batting .296. The campaign included refreshing bumps in his on-base percentage, slugging percentage and walk rate.

He looked like the high-end prospect that took High-A Jupiter and Double-A Carolina by storm. His stock was so high that he was supposedly part of a few deals involving Manny Ramirez in 2008.

Since then, however, Hermida hasn’t produced. His power has been sapped by a lingering oblique injury, causing his slugging percentage to drop over a 100 points over the course of the last two years. His walk rate has been inconsistent. His play in the outfield, which is probably the one gripe that has followed him throughout all stops of his career, has been dismal.

If there was ever a time to “buy low,” in the purest sense of the term, it was now.

Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein is a smart guy. While Hermida is not the prospect he once was, there were signs of encouragement in 2009. His 11.5% walk rate was the highest he’s posted in his four full seasons. His on-base percentage saw a slight bump. His declining power is still an issue, but it should see a sharp increase simply because of Fenway Park.

Of the two prospects Epstein surrendered to Florida, Hunter Jones is more major league ready. He enjoyed a brief call-up with Boston in 2009, but posted a 9.24 ERA and was sent down after just 12 innings pitched. He did, however, have nine strikeouts.

According to SoxProspects.com, Jones is a:

Big, tough lefty who can go a lot of innings out of the pen. Above average command, deceptive delivery. Goes right at hitters.  Utilizes a 88-91 mph two-seam fastball and a tough slider, which is rather new to his arsenal. Also has a low 80s slider – almost a slurve-type pitch. He has a low 80s circle change that he’s moved in an out of his arsenal.

At 25-years-old, Jones’ considerable minor league success needs to translate to the majors for him to have any value. He could find himself with a Marlin’s bullpen spot in 2010 if he has a successful Spring Training. Otherwise, he’s destined to be minor league filler.

Jose Alvarez, the other chip in the deal, is intriguing. As a 20-year-old, he led the New York Penn League in earned run average (1.52) last year during an All-Star campaign. He possesses a 90 mile-per-hour straight fastball, a swing-and-miss 12-6 curveball, and a slow changeup. Sources tout his curveball as his out-pitch, despite it being in the early stages of development.

He should be sent to Florida’s Double-A club to start the season.

Neither player should prove have any real impact anytime soon.

The same can’t be said for Hermida. It’s tough to be the Marlins.

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