The Red Sox are showing “a strong interest” in free agent Enrique Hernandez, as per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (Twitter link). Boston is the second team to be publicly linked to Hernandez this winter, as the Twins were reported to be looking at the utilityman earlier this month.
The 29-year-old has been a key member of the Dodgers’ roster over the last six seasons, hitting .240/.312/.425 over 1874 plate appearances and playing almost every position on the diamond except for catcher. Between his six years in L.A. and his 2014 rookie season with the Marlins and Astros, Hernandez’s 648 Major League games include 200 appearances as a second baseman, 179 in center field, 127 in left field, 82 as a shortstop, and 75 games in right field, while also getting in some work as both corner infield spots.
This extreme versatility would make Hernandez valuable to pretty much any team, though in Boston’s case, it seems like second base could be his primary position. The Red Sox have former top prospect Michael Chavis, Yairo Munoz and Christian Arroyo all as candidates for work at the keystone, and Munoz shares some of Hernandez’s super-utility status. Perhaps more interestingly, the Sox have also been looking into Marcus Semien as a potential candidate to take over at second base, so it seems like Boston is exploring both players to assume the position on an everyday basis, or players like Hernandez who could be part of a timeshare.
A traditional second base platoon isn’t really a fit since Hernandez, Chavis, Arroyo, and Munoz are all right-handed hitters. As such, Hernandez could perhaps get work in the outfield when a southpaw is on the mound, as both Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo swing from the left side of the plate. Hernandez has a career .263/.345/.474 slash line against left-handed pitching, though his offensive production against both lefties and righties was down in 2020.