September 26, 2021

César Hernández Could Be a Worthwhile Project (FanGraphs)

Not long ago, César Hernández felt like one of the safer bets in baseball. He was a speedy, slick-gloved second baseman who posted strong walk rates, working a 109 wRC+ from 2016-17 and posting 7.1 WAR, which made him the seventh-most valuable second baseman in baseball over that time span. But with his value declining, Hernández was non-tendered on Monday by the Phillies, for whom he has played seven major league seasons and 13 total years as a professional, all before turning 30.

With his final year of arbitration on the horizon, Hernández was projected to make around $11 million if the Phillies tendered him a contract for the 2020 season. But as Philadelphia reached a decision point with both him and third baseman Maikel Franco, the organization concluded that the money due to each player didn’t match up with what it believed they’d contribute in the coming year.

This decision point arrived at an inopportune time for Hernández, who is coming off his worse season since 2015. He was worth just 1.7 WAR in 161 games in 2019, hitting .279/.333/.408 for a 92 wRC+ and registering as just slightly above average in the field and on the basepaths. His durability,…

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