Depending on the source, Cleveland’s current starting second baseman is either Christian Arroyo, Andrew Velazquez, or Yu Chang. Nothing against those fine folks, but clearly Mike Chernoff and crew could stand to upgrade. Fortunately, Chernoff seems to know as much. Cleveland has already been connected to Cesar Hernandez, who was non-tendered by the Philadelphia Phillies due to a projected arbitration prize exceeding million.
Hernandez has hit .274/.353/.396 (98 OPS+) over the last three seasons, and overall profiles as a two-to-three-win player. Jason Kipnis, for reference, hit for an 86 OPS+ and notched a total of 2.4 Wins Above Replacement over the last three years, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations. In that sense, Hernandez would be a clear and much-needed step up from what Cleveland had.
Hernandez is the first noteworthy addition of Cleveland’s winter, and he arrives at a time when trade rumors are circulating about shortstop Francisco Lindor and starter Mike Clevinger. Whether the Hernandez signing is indicative of what Cleveland intends to do with Lindor and Clevinger is anyone’s guess — someone has to play second base regardless — but for the time being it does seem like a step in the right direction for a franchise that could use it.
More than a week has passed since Cleveland traded ace Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. In the deal’s aftermath, we outlined four areas where Cleveland would be wise to invest its saving, including second base.
One player who made particular sense for Cleveland was Cesar Hernandez, a veteran who had been non-tendered by the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the winter.
Next up on Cleveland’s docket is addressing the outfield. In the aforementioned post, we named Kole Calhoun and Corey Dickerson as potential fits. Here’s what we wrote: