4. Cesar Hernandez
He’s not the most exciting player in the Indians lineup, but he’s significant because he could be a dramatic upgrade.
The Tribe’s only free-agent splash, and some might only call it a trickle, was a 1.6 WAR player a season ago. The man he replaced, Jason Kipnis, was 0.7. If that mark holds, the Indians will be about a game better, which could be all the difference between riding to the postseason and going home after 60 games.
Plus, Hernandez hits from both sides of the plate, which is a major plus. We all love Kip and will remember his fondly, but watching him trying to fight off left-handed pitchers late in games was getting hard to watch.
Hernandez hit .279 a season ago, and is a .277 hitter, while Kipnis was below .250. Kipnis hit a few more home runs than Hernandez (17 to 14), but their snuggling percentages are virtually identical.
I don’t think it was being talked about all that much heading into the season pre-corona, but the Tribe lineup had the potential to be very good, and it still does.
With Lindor and Hernandez setting the table, Santana, Reyes, Ramirez and DH Domingo Santana could potentially be very dangerous.