The White Sox will decline their $6MM club option on second baseman Cesar Hernandez, reports ESPN’s Jesse Rogers (via Twitter). There’s no buyout on that option. Hernandez will become a free agent once the move is made official.
Hernandez slugged a career-high 21 home runs between Cleveland and Chicago this season but did so with a lackluster .232/.308/.386 batting line on the whole. He was more productive prior to the trade (.231/.307/.431) than he was after being moved (.232/.309/.299). Just three of Hernandez’s 21 long balls came with the White Sox.
Chicago’s acquisition of Hernandez was necessitated by a hamstring tear to Nick Madrigal, the former No. 4 overall pick whom the South Siders had pegged as the second baseman of the future. That unfortunate injury also set the stage for the Sox to boldly trade an injured Madrigal, controlled another five seasons, in a crosstown deal that netted Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel. The entire gambit fell shy of the front office’s hopes, and the ChiSox now face both a tough decision on Kimbrel’s $16MM option and a long-term hole at second base.
Hernandez might’ve been a reasonable stopgap, but the White Sox’ decision to cut him loose points to the likelihood that the 2021 AL Central champs have their sights set higher. With the Twins expected to reload and try for better results in 2022, the Tigers expected to spend aggressively this winter and the Royals moving into win-now mode as their own top prospects bubble to the surface in the big leagues, next year’s AL Central could be the most competitive it’s been in years.
Chicago’s decision to move on from Hernandez also speaks to the potential that he’ll find a rather tepid market for his services this winter. Hernandez has long been a solid regular at second base, but his two prior dalliances into free agency haven’t produced a multi-year deal. He’ll now hit the market on the heels of his weakest all-around showing since 2014 and in advance of his age-32 season — an obviously suboptimal set of circumstances.
Hernandez signed a one-year, $5MM guarantee off a much better showing in the 2020-21 offseason, and the Sox are effectively indicating that the market doesn’t value him at $6MM on a one-year term. Hernandez could have to settle for a lower base salary on an incentive-laden deal as he looks to recapture the form that saw him bat .280/.357/.396 in more than 2800 plate appearances from 2016-20.
1 Goose Man
He a decent player. Maybe 2nd for Toronto.
.694 OPS, 1 SB, negative values defensively. I guess, if you only care about HRs.
The Mets "Missed WAR"
I read some article that claims this guy is the best free agent 2nd baseman. The only one they said was better is Semian but he didn’t count because he is expected to go back to shortstop. If this guy is the best free agent 2nd baseman teams in need of that position are in trouble. Meanwhile the Braves get Ozzie Albies for $5 million a year and he’s under contract forever. Must be nice.
Trust me Gooseman, I watched him with the Chisox. You DONT want him. He was plain bad, on both sides of the ball. You can do better.
Cesar blew it, going from an OBP focused table setter to an empty power threat on a lucky streak that quickly ended in the last third of season
Cost himself a ton by not focusing on what he does best, and what made him desirable
Lefebvre Pitch Guy
He was frustrating to watch when he played in Philadelphia. Phillies announcer John Kruk would always comment on Cesar’s big swing or not utilizing his speed on the base paths. Decent talent and a good teammate, but infrequently put it together for long stretches.
It wouldn’t be surprising if he bounced back with a decent season considering how up and down he’s been throughout his career.
To be fair – he was still a 100 OPS+ guy in Cleveland this year, he was just AWFUL when he came over the White Sox.
True Hurt. But it was 100% off his HR rate, which was so out of whack and coming at the expense of his true value
Prior 5 years he had hit
.280/.357/.396, a 117 iso, 337 babip
.283/.355/.408, a 124 iso, 364 babip
At time of trade was hitting
.231/.307/.431, a 199 iso, .256 babip
Gone were all contact skills, with a 50 point drop in BA and OBP. Instead he saw a 75+ point jump in iso as he swung for the fences on everything.
The career 9.0 HR/FB guy off a 9.0 HR/FB year in 2020 was not going to sustain the 17.5 HR/FB he was putting up though. This is 2021, the White Sox should have known better
Darkstar – agree with everything, Sox should have known better and either gone all in for Escobar or just stuck with Garcia.
In nurse follars
He will get a contract somewhere. Not with the guardians but somewhere.
I want Nick Madrigal back.
yes, loved Nicky 2 strikes
Sox would be better off with someone that walks more than once a week, or actually has power, or that plays above average defense, or is a smarter base runner. Other than that……
it was a good idea to get him at the deadline. the problem is he (and kimbrel) sucked afterwards. cutting bait is the right move.
Madrigal was a great fit, as a complementary piece, to that white Sox lineup. Fit it like a glove.
agreed. wish we had an alternate timeline where he didn’t shred his hamstring
He has never been better than an average defender, at best. His value was in his wheels and OBA and now he seems to have transitioned to a more pop driven hitter. He is probably headed for a team like the Pirates.
Pirates have about 8 second base options either MLB ready or will start 2022 in the upper minors. Rodolfo Castro, Diego Castillo, Ji-Hwan Bae, Michael Chavis, Hoy Park, Tucupita Marcano, Cole Tucker, and Kevin Newman are just who I can think of off the top of my head.
He is a former Gold Glove winner!
back to Philly if DD can find a match in a Didi trade?
Being DD he will probably keep Didi and start him through the break even if Stott has a great spring training and Didi falls on his face.
White Sox better get somebody, no time for screwing around here!
Would love for the Sox to convince Semien to stay at 2b and sign back where he started. Full lineup is already great, but putting him behind Anderson at 2nd in the order would be ridiculous.
This would be one of my favorite moves of off-season. I love Semien!
Semien can be had for 2B with a long big $ contract offer!
No doubt Cesar will be looking at yet another 1-year deal this winter for around $5M. I loved him in CLE, but he’s just not the kind of player any team can truly commit to.
White Sox should be in on Semien or Baez though they could think Jake Burger or Romy Hernandez are ready. I wonder if they would move Moncada back to 2B and let Burger play 3B?
RSox – I think probably no on the move for Moncada, he really was a below average 2b and he seems to have found his stride at 3b (defensively).
I wonder how much his club option played into the decision to trade Madrigal.
We will probably never know, but if that was case, this was horrendous trade.
The best prospect in Cuban baseball, Cesar Prieto, has just been declared a free agent
Cuba’s best prospect, just declared a free agent and plays second base
Sign him up!
Will fit in nicely with the Sox.
To be clear, Hernandez sandbagged his way out of Chicago. He played awful, and judging from his demeanor and body language, he just didn’t care. I hope Hahn has a plan for 2nd base beyond trading for some journeyman utility player in Hernandez. That moved sucked for them pretty badly.
Escobar would have been a better fit on the White Sox, and yeah I said that back during the trade deadline as well. Hernandez made no sense, and reeks of Kenny Williams in looking at the back of the baseball card instead of looking at the stats. That being said, Im not sure he would have helped out greatly in the playoffs wither as this team has no heart (or at least lose it after the playoffs start). Sox need a true Ace that can dominate regardless of the team he faces and need a staff that does not become predictable during the playoffs and do not buckle like a belt when they face adversity. As much as I would not be surprised if the Astros were back to their cheating days, I lean more on this Sox team needing a LOT more for the playoffs.. They need a killer instinct and I just do not see it with this club. If they do not find at least a couple of hitters that can hit really good pitching, and a couple of pitchers that can dominate even a great hitting club, we will see a repeat of last season. But hey they got another flag to fly on their pole though, right? Actually they may not even get that if they lose their bats whenever facing the big three for Cleveland like they did when facing them in 2021