The Chicago White Sox have acquired IF Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for LHP Konnor Pilkington.
After rookie Nick Madrigal tore his hamstring, costing him the rest of the season, the White Sox have needed a second baseman. Hernandez is their guy. He is a switch-hitter who generally has hit for average with stolen bases and no power. But in his time with Cleveland, that changed, especially this year. Hernandez already has a career high in home runs, with a career low batting average. He also did not attempt a single steal in his 154 games with the club, despite still having above-average sprint speed. He won the Gold Glove at second last year in the American League, although he does have -3 outs above average this season. His complete change in power is an odd development but it does help the White Sox accomplish their goal of adding at the position.
Hernandez, 31, has hit 18 home runs with a .307 OBP and a .738 OPS in 420 Plate Appearances for Cleveland this year. In his MLB career for the Indians and Philadelphia Phillies, Hernandez has hit 67 home runs with 80 stolen bases, a .347 OBP, and a .736 OPS in 3963 Plate Appearances.
As the White Sox pull away with the AL Central title, everyone else in their division has become sellers. Cleveland is the closest to catching them, but this trade makes that gap even bigger. Hernandez has a $6 million club option for 2022. The Indians were unlikely to pick it up and since Madrigal will be back next year, they figure that the White Sox won’t keep him, either. So, Hernandez can only hurt them in Chicago for this year, or so they think. In return, they get a 2018 third-rounder in Pilkington. The Mississippi State product has been a very good pitcher in Double-A this season. His most impressive stat may be a 5.2 H/9 as a starter.
Pilkington, 23, has a 3.48 ERA with 71 strikeouts and a 0.919 WHIP in 62 innings for AA Birmingham this season. In his MiLB career, he has a 4.13 ERA with 220 strikeouts and a 1.205 WHIP in 205 innings.