Cleveland appears to be on the verge of reuniting with second baseman César Hernández, as reported by Jon Heyman. The deal is pending physicals.
Cesar Hernandez agrees to Indians deal pending medicals— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 26, 2021
According to The Athletic’s Zack Meisel, the deal is for one year plus a team option.
Multiple sources confirm: César Hernández back to Cleveland on a one-year deal plus a club option, but medicals could take some time before it's official. @JonHeyman was on it first.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) January 26, 2021
Hernández manned second base in 58 of Cleveland’s 60 games last season, where he was worth six defensive runs saved over 503.2 innings. Offensively he underwent a renaissance in the shortened season, slashing .283/.355/.408 with a wRC+ (110) that was one point off his career-high set in 2017 with the Phillies.
The implications of this deal are ... varied. It could be a way to justify suppressing Andrés Giménez's service time by making him “work on his defense” while Amed Rosario plays short and Hernández plays second. It could also mean that the versatile Rosario will move to the outfield, where he has played exactly three innings total in his short career but clearly has the athleticism to do it.
One of the three is going to either have to move the outfield or play in a bench role, which makes the signing kind of strange, to say the least — especially if Cleveland is only going to invest up to $10 million as Terry Pluto suggested last week. César is a welcome addition, either way, no matter where he fits in.
It’s also worth noting that Heyman says Cleveland is not done signing free agents; they have “more irons in the free agent fire”. We can only hope, eventually, one of those players will be an outfielder.