The Indians have traded away Cesar Hernandez to the White Sox.
Just because the Indians made a trade, doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. The season is long from over, and the Indians start a series with the White Sox, one of two remaining on the schedule. If the Indians do well against them, they’re right back in the playoff race and have a shot at the AL Central crown. If they lose those two series, then it’s over. The good news is, the Tribe has eight games against the Sox still. Three this weekend and five in September. The bad news is that they’re going to have Cesar Hernandez for those two series.
Cesar Hernandez was having a down year making contact with the ball, but a big year in home runs. The former Indians’ second baseman was hitting just .231 for the Tribe, about 40 points down from his career average and 50 points down from 2020. He’s got a personal all-time high in home runs with 18 currently, however, while totaling 47 RBIs. He’s also playing Gold Glove-caliber defense still, so it’s not like he was completely terrible.
While losing Hernandez may hurt a bit for some, it wasn’t an unexpected departure. He was a veteran player who was bogging up the middle-infield, keeping prospects away. The Triple-A affiliate Clippers is loaded with prospects to try out, and now they’ll get their chance. While he had a career-high in home runs, he wasn’t proving to be very reliable or consistent at the plate this year, and a change was needed.
The Indians get back Top 50 prospect and call up Owen Miller
The Indians didn’t get back a massive haul for Hernandez, walking away with the White Sox’s 47th ranked prospect, in 23-year-old, Double-A left-handed pitcher Konnor Pilkington. In 14 starts for the Alabama-based Birmingham Barons, he’s 4-4 in14 starts, with a 3.48 ERA, with 71 strikeouts in just 62 innings pitched.
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He’s not the second coming of Bob Feller out of the minors but who knows what he can turn into with some patience.
The Indians will start Owen Miller at second base to replace Hernandez. Miller is on his second stint with the Indians this year after previously being called up and sent down. The middle-infielder came over from the Padres in 2020 as part of the Mike Clevinger deal, and flamed out his first time up with the big-league club, hitting just .109 during his stint. He was hitting very well in Triple-A. He was hitting .406 at the time of his call-up and now he’s hitting .299. Clearly, that first round took a lot out of him mentally.
The hope is that Miller can show off his stick as well with the Indians as he did in the minors to start the season, as the team desperately needs some reliable hitting from that position.
If not, there are other options the Tribe can pursue, like moving Jose Ramirez back to second and calling up Nolan Jones. That’s just one of a bunch of ideas the team could employ.