Hernandez, 25, was a Rays prospect who they added to their 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft in November of 2019. He was acquired by the Red Sox prior to the 2021 season in the deal that sent Jeffrey Springs to Tampa. In his first year in Boston’s system, things went quite well for Hernandez. In 99 games split between Double-A and Triple-A, he hit .284/.326/.501 for a wRC+ of 122. However, he took a step back in 2022, hitting .261/.297/.451 for a wRC+ of 93.
Prospect reports on Hernandez have indicated that his blocking and receiving need some work but his power at the plate continued to draw strong marks. He did still hit 17 long balls this year, but he’s never really been able to draw many walks, as indicated by this year’s 4.8% rate. The Red Sox have long had Christian Vázquez as their primary backstop but traded him to the Astros this year and he’s now a free agent. With the outright of Hernandez, they’re left with Reese McGuire and Connor Wong as the two catchers on their 40-man roster at present.
There had been no public indication that Hernandez had been designated for assignment or placed on waivers but he evidently was passed through in recent days. Hernandez will stick in the organization as depth but without taking up a roster spot. With a spot open, the Sox could potentially be lining up a signing but it also could be with an eye towards next week’s Rule 5 draft. Boston grabbed Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the 2020 version of the Rule 5.