What Lies Ahead for Enrique Hernandez?

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(David V. Phillip/Associated Press)

While any big news surrounding the Dodgers is certainly at a premium so far this offseason, fans continue to patiently wait for the team to make some roster moves, potentially providing a sign of what the team might look like in 2021.

Most of us have already talked about the seven free agents Los Angeles has lost at the conclusion of the World Series, but aside from Justin Turner, we haven’t really discussed the impact of each loss individually.

Indeed, there’s definitely still a chance the team could sign one or more of the departed players, but as some conversations start to develop regarding potential roster upgrades, front-office boss Andrew Friedman and his group appear to be keeping an open mind.

Recently, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times started a series of stories featuring the seven free agents, indicating the chances of each player re-signing.

On Wednesday, the featured player was super-utility man Enrique Hernandez.

Through arbitration in 2019, the 29-year-old native of San Juan earned $3.725 million for the season. Before the proration in 2020, he was set to make $5.9 million. As a free agent in 2021, it’s tough to guess what he might land in terms of a deal—not only because it’s unclear of his value, but also because it’s difficult to gauge how many clubs across the league will be spending this winter based on the economics of last season.

Still, Hernandez will undoubtedly get his offers. Like all players approaching their age-30 seasons, the highest priority might be the length of a contract, which could perhaps push the Dodgers out of the picture entirely.

Some national pundits have discussed Hernandez as a second baseman—probably because he was in the running for a Gold Glove this year—but most followers of the Dodgers know that he’s equally adept defensively at numerous positions on the diamond. Nevertheless, Los Angeles seems to be stacked at many of those spots, especially with the presumed emergence of utility man Zach McKinstry, coupled with the fact that Chris Taylor’s contract lasts through the 2021 season.

And that’s not even taking into consideration the impact lefty-hitting Gavin Lux might have on the middle-infield picture next year.

Castillo pointed out that Hernandez was one of the streakiest players on the club offensively. “He batted .240 with a .737 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his six seasons with the Dodgers. This year, he hit .230 with five home runs and a .680 OPS in 48 games. He owns a .820 career OPS against left-handed pitchers and a .673 mark against right-handers.”

His banner season offensively was probably 2018 when he hit .256/.336/.470 with 21 long balls and 52 RBI in 145 games, producing a 3.3 bWAR. Still, as Castillo alluded to, Hernandez’s career slash line against righty pitching is .222/.286/.386 over 1115 career plate appearances. Against lefty pitching, he’s hit .263/.345/.474 over 893 PA.

It’s almost like an inverse stat chart of Joc Pederson, which is an entirely different topic for another time.

Anyway, while it’s clear that defense is the strong suit of Hernandez’s game, the fact that he’s streaky with the bat—coupled with his tendency to struggle against right-handed pitching—might end up limiting his payday.

Even so, his quirky presence in the clubhouse will certainly be missed if he does indeed end up heading for greener pastures.

While I find it tough to guess exactly where Hernandez might land, I agree that it probably will not be in Los Angeles. And, considering the current economic state of most teams, I’d be willing to wager that he doesn’t land a deal for more than two years.

13 thoughts on “What Lies Ahead for Enrique Hernandez?

    1. If there’s a redundancy it’s CT3. The logical side of my brain says we really don’t need Kike and are better off with a lefty like ZacMac, but the emotional side of my brain says it just won’t be the same Dodgers without Kike. I’ve decided I’ll be OK whichever way AF goes on this one.

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      1. Since many of the major outlets believe the Dodgers are pursuing Lindor, maybe Friedman will include Taylor in the deal back to the Indians, forcing himself to throw an offer to Enrique. If that’s the case, maybe he could leverage something like 3/25.

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      2. I don’t see any overlap between JT’s future here and Kike’s. I think they fill different needs. Also don’t see how Kike is going to get anyone to offer him 3/25 in today’s financial climate. But I’ve been wrong before. I had Henry Clay beating James K. Polk in the 1844 Presidential election.

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  1. I really believe he is moving on. The only way he stays is if they pass on Turner. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

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  2. I was in the Marines and didn’t get it. I figured he could take the year off and get healthy. I remember hearing a story about the Dodgers giving away their used blue sleeved undershirts to local youth organizations. They cleaned them of course but apparently some kid got one that Koufax wore and the left sleeve still had so much heat balm in it the kids arm felt like it was on fire. I wondered “why would Koufax do that to himself?” Different time. Different attitudes. Different, less educated training personnel. And, players were owned.

    Im fine with McKinstry and Lux taking two roster spots. I’d re-sign Turner and let him split time with Rios. McGee and Treinen seem like a good risks, depending on what they want. Joc’s probably gone. I’m not at all concerned about this roster. Our rotation is set 6, maybe 7 deep, the starting lineup is still there. Even if it’s Rios at third I’m good with it. As is we are already favorites to repeat. We are damm lucky to have the Dodgers as our team.

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  3. This is the worst time of the year for me. The lack of news in the baseball world makes everything go slow. And since it will probably not pick up any until after Thanksgiving, I have been watching the playoff and World Series games. I had forgotten, easy to do at my age, just how many critical moments there were in those last 3 games against the Braves. They were behind TWICE. Kike tied it at 3 with a homer, and Belli’s bomb clinched it. And Turner made a great play at third to start a inning ending DP. The shoestring catch by Mookie in an earlier game with the base running blunder by Ozuna that probably cost the Braves a couple of runs. Turner and Mookie hitting clutch homers. So much had to happen for that moment when Urias struck out Adames to win it all to come to pass. They were tough when they were down and got the job done. It still is hard to believe sometimes. But this was by far one of the toughest years for all of us. Not just the team, but the fans. Having to watch everything without being there. I was envious of those who had the ability to be able to attend the games in Texas., And I felt sorry for those who were denied the chance to watch the team win it in their home park. The Dodgers are champs, and they still have only celebrated the win on their home turf once. 1963 when Sandy beat the Yanks 2-1. All the other wins were away.

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