The Mariners and infielder César Hernández are in agreement on a minor league deal, reports Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extra Base. Hernández had been in camp with the Tigers until recently but didn’t make their Opening Day roster.
Hernández, 33 in May, had been a fairly steady and reliable presence at second base for many years, primarily with the Phillies. From 2015 to 2020, he played in at least 127 games in each full season and 58 games in the shortened 2020 campaign. He hit 48 home runs, stole 79 bases and walked in 10.1% of his plate appearances in that time. His wRC+ of 101 in that span indicates he was just barely above league average.
However, he’s coming off a couple of strange campaigns, relative to his previous work. In 2021, he had a power spike with 21 home runs, though his on-base percentage dropped with a lower walk rate and a .232 batting average. Despite the extra homers, his wRC+ ended up at 90. Last year, that power vanished, as he hit just one dinger all year long. He finished with a .248/.311/.318 batting line and 79 wRC+.
He settled for a minor league deal with Detroit this winter and hit .234/.321/.383 this spring, but didn’t make the club’s roster out of camp. As an Article XX(B) free agent, he had the ability to opt out of his minors deal if not selected. It’s not clear if he triggered that opt-out or not, but the result is the same as the Tigers released him a few days ago, returning him to the open market.
Hernández has had brief time at third base, shortstop and the outfield in his career but the vast majority of his work has been at second base. The Mariners have Kolten Wong and Tommy La Stella on the roster as second base options, though both players dealt with lower body injuries last year. Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty were set to play bench/utility roles but Moore is currently out of action with an oblique strain. Hernández will presumably head to Triple-A Tacoma, giving them a veteran presence and providing the M’s with an extra layer of depth.
The more the merrier!
I have to admit I don’t know much about Hernandez, but at age 32 he could probably be an asset in camp, sharing insights with younger guys.
That is always my “take” in this kind of signing.
The Mariners have seen something they like about Hernandez or else they would not have bothered.
Jarred Kelenic's Beer Can
They saw that he can play shortstop. He’s a backup in case Crawford goes on the IL and Moore still needs time to heal.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Cesar is a dog but the harmless one. The yapping white fluffy thing that keeps your aunt company.
OT Fred, you were right and I was wrong about the M’s keeping both of Flexen and Gonzales until the opener.
Thank you Danelboones.
You are an honorable man (person) to come forth and say that.
Well, like a old, blind squirrel, maybe I still sometimes find an acorn.
Looking forward to the season.
Plenty of acorns to dig up Fred.
Now if this keeps up we will field a team, like that of field of dreams.
I have a question, how many players can be on a team in AAA it seems our cup runith over.
Betting is now up for how many days – no, minutes – Hernandez still wears a Mariners uniform. One of the top 1 worst players in all of baseball
You’ve come to bury Cesar and not praise him?
Don’t know how anyone can go past this comment without stopping to give a thumbs-up.
I saw him play part of one season for the White Sox. He kind of buried his own career in 2021 after playing pretty well for the Indians.
By no means an all star but he has a career WAR of 13.2. He is obviously better than even mediocre.
Mariners fans will start a WAR with ownership of he ever takes the field for the M’s.
Jarred Kelenic's Beer Can
Already have since they ignored the vast majority of free agency to sign Tommy La Stella’s rotting corpse.
After reading a few of your ‘comments’ recently, I kindly suggest that you stay away from the beer cans.
The Tigers will miss Hernandez after they DFA Schoop.
Luckily for him he didn’t make Tigers roster. Now he has the opportunity to play for a team that should contend, and have opportunities for older guys to get playing time. In Detroit they already said that the younger players will play a lot to evaluate them, his route to a job is better in Seattle, good luck Cesar!
Hernandez is a good depth signing. The Mariners are quietly building some decent depth in AAA by adding Colin Moran, Cesar Hernandez, Delino DeShields, Pat Valaika, Mike Ford, Nick Solak… nothing spectacular, but all guys who have played decently in the majors at times and who can fill in if a Mariner player is injured. There are also some guys who might be able to contribute in Zach DeLoach, Mason McCoy, Cade Marlowe, Taylor Dollard, Tommy Milone, Casey Sadler, Evan White… Seems like some nicer depth than usual on the Tacoma roster this year, plus there are some pitchers in AA who aren’t far from the majors. I think there are some players in AAA who can be more than just warm bodies at the major league level.