DETROIT — The Tigers added veteran depth to their infield by agreeing to phrases with César Hernández on a Minor League contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Coaching, MLB Community insider Jon Heyman first reported Wednesday. The Tigers haven’t made the settlement official.
Hernández has spent components of 10 seasons within the Majors, together with two as an AL Central rival with Cleveland and Chicago. The 32-year-old switch-hitter was a Gold Glove second baseman in Cleveland in 2020 and a 21-homer slugger the next yr, most of it with Cleveland earlier than a Commerce Deadline deal despatched him to the White Sox.
Hernández spent final yr with the Nationals because the on a regular basis second baseman on a younger Washington roster. Whereas his energy plummeted with one house run in 560 at-bats and a median exit velocity close to the underside amongst MLB hitters, resulting in a 68-point drop in slugging share, he produced 28 doubles and 4 triples and lowered his strikeout price from the center of the pack to the highest third amongst Main League hitters, according to Statcast — 21.2 to 18.5 p.c. He additionally raised his batting common from .232 to .248.
The Venezuela native was more practical in opposition to left-handed pitching, batting .282 with a .690 OPS off southpaws in comparison with .232 and .601 versus right-handers.
The Tigers have had previous curiosity in Hernández, together with three years in the past as a free agent earlier than he signed with Cleveland and Jonathan Schoop signed with Detroit. How supervisor A.J. Hinch may make the most of Hernández at this stage in his profession can be fascinating to observe. He began 126 video games final yr at second base, the place Schoop was a Gold Glove finalist. In contrast, Hernádez truly made extra begins in left discipline (10) than third base (eight), the place the Tigers have an open competitors looming after non-tendering Jeimer Candelario.
Although Hernández is thought to be a defense-first infielder, he has rated negatively at second base since his Gold Glove season, together with minus-4 Outs Above Average and minus-8 Defensive Runs Saved final yr. A lot of the drop got here on performs up the center; he rated minus-9 on Outs Above Common when transferring laterally in direction of third base, according to Statcast.
Whether or not or not the Tigers have been to contemplate transferring Schoop to 3rd, plugging in Hernández isn’t a given, particularly if Hinch needs to look intently at younger infielders like Ryan Kreidler, Nick Maton and Tyler Nevin across the infield. Even Matt Vierling, who made scattered begins at second and third base for the Phillies final yr whereas primarily taking part in outfield, is an possibility at third.