White Sox trading for Cesar Hernandez to solve second base

Cesar Hernandez (Photo by Erik Drost)

Back in June, I suggested the White Sox should offer Lance Lynn a three-year, $55 million contract extension. During the All-Star break, the White Sox and Lynn agreed to an extension that maxed out for those years and dollars after a team option.

Back on Saturday, I floated the idea of trading for Cleveland’s Cesar Hernandez to solve the White Sox’s issues at second base. This morning, the White Sox did just that, sending Double-A lefty Konnor Pilkington to the Future Guardians.

There were a couple reasons I thought Hernandez could be available at a reasonable price: He’s hitting only .231/.307/.431, which makes his $6 million club option for 2022 not all that appetizing for a cash-crunched Cleveland front office that didn’t rush to retain him for $5 million for this season.

There were also a couple of reasons why I liked the fit for Hernandez and the White Sox. He’s a switch-hitter with 18 homers, which would tie José Abreu for the White Sox team lead, and he also won the Gold Glove last year for good reason.

There are just a couple wrinkles to iron out:

His offense: Hernandez carried a .355 OBP the last six seasons, five of which were with the Phillies. He gave Cleveland exactly that in 2020, which made him a credible fit in their top-heavy part of the order. He inflicted a lot of damage on Sox pitching from there, hitting .364/.462/.545 over nine games.

This year, that OBP is down to .307, in large part because of problems against righties.

  • vs. RHP, 2021: .239/.307/.389
  • Last 6 years: .275/.355/.394

Maybe he’s selling out for power and it’s affecting the rest of the game, or maybe he has positive regression in store. I’ll be looking into it today, but a .268/.337/.561 performance in July hints at the latter.

The defense: While the metrics called him a worthy Gold Glover last year, they’re down on him this year:


Fortunately, the White Sox have the American League’s worst defense at second base without him, at least according to Defensive Runs Saved, so even if they’re not getting the best version of Hernandez, he should be able to help. If his glovework wants to regress toward greatness as well, so much the better. If it doesn’t, they basically traded for Eduardo Escobar there after all.

The cost is appropriate. Pilkington has produced for a deep Birmingham rotation, with 71 strikeouts against 21 walks and a 3.48 ERA over 62 innings. Like every Birmingham pitcher, he’s been limited to a cap of five innings per start after the lost season of 2020, so it’s hard to know how much of a horse he can be.

UPDATE: The White Sox made it official, and opened up a spot on the 40-man roster by releasing Tyler Johnson.

“César Hernández provides our club with a valuable combination of a power bat in the middle infield and Gold-Glove quality defense,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “Adding a player like César gives Tony a strong and proven option at second base for the stretch run of the season and hopefully into October.”

As for Johnson, well:

Johnson was on the injured list, and teams can’t put injured players on outright waivers, which is why he was released. We’ve previously seen the White Sox do this with Ryan Burr and Nicky Delmonico, both of whom were re-signed.

(Photo by Erik Drost)

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As long as you’re on a roll Jim, how about calling for a White Sox sweep in the World Series!!

Last edited 1 year ago by roke1960

Perhaps you should suggest Kimbrel and Bryant for Yermin.


I wonder how many wishes this genie has left.

Wish for more wishes! Wish for more wishes!

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think we have a new worst lineup of the season.


OF looks pretty good with Hamilton and Engel.

But this is a bonkers infield move. You can’t give Anderson and Moncada the same day off from the field with the current roster

I agree this is a terrible lineup. I think the idea is to give some rest on a hot day after a night game to try and reset after scoring 17 runs in 7 games. This lineup is not a good idea for today’s game but let’s hope it is a good idea for the long run.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Oh, I don’t think it really matters in the grand scheme of things. Just an observation.


utterly insane Vaughn at second


Uh, why? Just…why?


LaRussa said there are concerns about the heat (RP will only go out to the bullpen to warm-up so they don’t bake).

But I don’t get giving Moncada and Anderson both the day off. You could have rested one last night.


Per the NWS for KC today

WHAT…Heat index values up to 110 expected.

WHERE…Portions of east central and northeast Kansas and northwest and west central Missouri.

WHEN…Until 9 PM CDT Friday.

IMPACTS…Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.


Maybe they should have just pushed the game back to tonight. Let things cool off a bit.


Vaughn has no speed at all…How on earth can he play second?


Because regular season games matter so little to the White Sox at this point that their biggest division threat just gave them a solid 2B in exchange for a guy in AA.


I guess TR is giving Tim, Yoan and Jose “a talking to”. ????


Jose has a stiff neck


“See? This is why we needed César!”


This is odd, to say the least. Even if he wanted the same exact players, he could just switch the defensive positions for Vaughn and Garcia, because at least Vaughn has played some 3B. I guess he’s experimenting to see what he can get away with for flexibility, but this seems too far.


Was thinking the same thing. But I’m wondering if the hot corner will be much busier because of Rodon and his slider. KC isn’t going to be putting lefties in to face Rodon.


I’m watching this one for sure. Can you imaging Vaughn making a quick turn throw for the double play?


I can. Because he is freaking awesome.

Greg Nix

I guess if you’re going to try it, Rodon is the pitcher to use because of the K rate. But… yeesh.


me, sometime in 2020: “I wish the Sox had a manager more willing to experiment with lineups”

monkey’s paw curls


I wish TLR would have batted him leadoff too. While we are at it. Moncada should have gotten the day off too and Rodon should have batted.


Surprised Jim can still fit his head through the door.


I posted this in the other thread, but it’s relevant to Jim’s point about Hernandez’s lower OBP. Hernandez’s BABIP (.256) is currently more than 50 points lower than his previous career-low (.313). So, the well-lower-than-career-norms batting average (.231) and therefore OBP (.307) could be the result of misfortune. If so, the Sox could enjoy a nice boost in those areas from a guy who had a 100 wRC+ without them.


So would you agree he is selling out for HRs?


This has just turned into must-see TV!


Fun bad?


I expect Vaughn to acquit himself well. His range is probably a little suspect. He’ll probably be a little slow on the pivot.

As Cirensica

Can’t wait.

Joliet Orange Sox

The Giants have designated Mike Tauchman for assignment. He’s almost 31 and has an OPS+ of 57 this year so I hope and expect the Sox will stay far far away. I only mention it because he was discussed around here in the spring as a possible lefty outfield bat (I think with the hope he could bounce back to his very good 2019).


I specifically remember people suggesting Matt Foster for him would be an overpay for us. But what a difference a few months can make; now they both suck!


Provided everyone comes back healthy…


w/Engel, Garcia, Hamilton/Goodwin, Collins/Zavala on the bench

Isn’t too shabby for a playoff lineup. They’ll still be susceptible to good RHP, but what else is new.


I don’t even know how bad that lineup would be against RHP. Moncada is better from the left-side and Hernandez and Grandal are basically the same.

So you’ve basically got 4/9s of the starting lineup that would either prefer or be indifferent to hitting RHP and two decent lefty bench bats.

A lineup of:

  1. Moncada (114 career wRC+/ 122 career wRC+ vs RHP) L
  2. Jimenez (122/ 129) R
  3. Grandal (119/ 118) L
  4. Abreu (132/ 127) R
  5. Sheets (132/ 169) L
  6. Robert (109/ 101) R
  7. Goodwin (101/ 104) L
  8. Anderson (102/ 94) R
  9. Hernandez (100/ 100) L

seems pretty legit against RHP

John SF

Even with Sheets in RF, I can’t imagine starting Goodwin over Vaughn.


Vaughn has an 80 wRC+ against RHP. At this stage, I’d definitely take Goodwin.


Unless I am using Fangraphs wrong, Vaughn is 149 wRC+ vs RH since July 1

jose robcada

jose robcada

Come on over tepera?


Now, all that’s left is the deal for the elite reliever.

Root Cause

Where is that unwritten rule book? There HAS to be a rule where you can’t put a player in a position he has never played in a MLB game.


Jim, please write an article about a reasonable package the Sox can offer Starling Marte this offseason. Thank you.