The Chicago White Sox is currently dealing with a lot of question marks at the second base position. When they moved Yoan Moncada from second to third after the 2018 season ended, it was a great move for him. They also assumed that Nick Madrigal would be the guy that they use at second in the future.
It’s funny how things change. Of course, they traded Madrigal (along with Codi Heuer) to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Craig Kimbrel. It isn’t a deal that has worked in the Sox favor yet but they used their team option for 2022 on the future Hall of Fame closer. Now, we just wait to see if they trade him or not.
They might try to add a great player to play second base as well. Marcus Semien’s name is the one that makes the most sense but that will certainly cost a lot of money. To replace Madrigal in 2021, they acquired Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians. That deal not working out either is the reason they are in this predicament.
Chicago didn’t give much to get Hernandez so it isn’t a bad trade from that perspective. It is bad, however, because he didn’t provide what they needed from him down the stretch in 2021. Instead, he was lousy enough for them to decline his team option once the offseason began.
Hernandez was arguably Cleveland’s second-best hitter at the time of the trade behind only Jose Ramirez. Once he got to the White Sox, however, things cooled down drastically. He had his moments but was never able to have that power surge that we know he is capable of having.
With Cleveland, he hit 18 home runs in 96 games. With Chicago, he hit 3 home runs in 56 games. He also only slashed .232/.309/.299 for an OPS of .608 on the south side. Those are horrid numbers when you compare them to his career averages. He only contributed 15 RBIs and 24 runs scored to the White Sox in his 56 games as well so it just wasn’t that good for him.
Cesar Hernandez had a very interesting tenure with the Chicago White Sox.
2021 Final Grade: D+
Cesar Hernandez would get an F if he wasn’t a very good defensive second baseman. He knows how to field his position very well which did help from time to time. There were plenty of moments where he made plays that Nick Madrigal can’t make. For that he deserves credit but they needed so much more out of his bat and they just didn’t get it.
As mentioned before, Hernandez’s team option wasn’t picked up by the White Sox so he is a free agent. It will be very interesting to see where he goes and how much money he makes. He provides a very good glove and teams might take a risk on his bat getting back to where it was before he made it to Cleveland. The White Sox lineup is very protecting so it is shocking that this happened to him but it is certainly possible that he figures it out elsewhere.