New Cleveland Indians rumors have them bringing back Cesar Hernandez
According to Daniel Alvarez Montes of the Spanish-language El Extra Base, Hernandez and the Indians were finalizing the details of a two-year deal that would include a team option for 2022.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported shortly thereafter the deal was done, pending a physical.
Cleveland added Hernandez as a free agent in December 2019 and was not disappointed. The Venezuelan who will be 31 in May hit .283/.355/.408 in 58 games and 261 plate appearances, with an AL-leading 20 doubles to go with three homers and 20 RBI. Hernandez also earned his first career Gold Glove for his defensive work at second base.
Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006, Hernandez emerged from the farm system in 2013 and became a regular in 2015. He led the majors with 11 triples in 2016 and stole 80 bases over parts of seven seasons in Philadelphia, but did not attempt to swipe a bag in 2020.
For his career, he is a .277/.352/.383 hitter with 49 homers in 3,543 plate appearances. Hernandez clubbed a career-best 15 homers in 2018 and posted a career-high 71 RBI in 2019. Last season’s OPS+ of 106 was his best since a career-high 110 mark in 2017.
Hernandez started both games in the Indians’ two-game loss to the New York Yankees in the Wild-Card Series, going 3-for-8 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Cleveland was outscored 22-12 in the series, with former closer Brad Hand — who just signed with the Washington Nationals, unable to hold a 9-8 lead in the ninth inning of Game 2 in a 10-9 season-ending defeat.
Cleveland will have a different look this season after trading both shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who started Game 2 last fall, to the New York Mets for young infielder Andres Gimenez, shortstop Amed Rosario, and a pair of minor-leaguers in right-hander Josh Wolf and 19-year-old left-hander Isaiah Greene — a second-round pick last June.
Rosario is expected to replace Lindor at shortstop, while the Indians also lost three free agents from their everyday lineup — first baseman Carlos Santana signed with the Kansas City Royals, while outfielders Tyler Naguin and Delino DeShields remain unsigned.