I’ll admit, I was nervous as fuck this morning. Trade season (SZN) is upon us in a big way and the White Sox hadn’t done jack shit by the time I was plowing through my 2nd cup of coffee. I thought there was a 50 / 50 shot that we’d get a repeat of last season. 2020 was a weird year, but not so weird that adding talent wasn’t a viable option for our White Sox, but alas, it didn’t happen. I was getting nervous that trade season would fly by and I’d only have this to show for it.
Then it happened…
I was so excited, I felt like Paulie Cicero in the first stanza of Goodfellas welcoming back a young Henry Hill (Rick Hahn) after doing a good job…
Thankfully, the first back-to-back White Sox playoff appearance in team history wasn’t going to slip through our paws without a meaningful mid-season reinforcement of talent. Cesar Hernandez.
Cesar Hernandez goes to the White Sox for Konnor Pilkington who goes to the Cleveland Baseball Organization
Hernandez is a 31 year old 2b, who sports a career OPS+ of 98 (100 is league average). In the past his offensive repetoir had touted lots of contact and walks and a high on base percentage (career .347 OBP). The 2021 vintage is sporting his career high in home runs at 18, as well as a career high slugging percentage of .431, while also posting his lowest OBP since 2014 of .307. Hernandez has also been a plus defender in the past, although Baseball Savant’s Outs Above Average doesn’t think very highly of him in 2021.
I saw on the twitter machine some of the pushback on this deal being that Hernandez isn’t much better than Leury Garcia. See their 2021 numbers below. I guess I can buy that, kinda….
But I really think this deal just pushes Danny Mendick off of the roster, while providing Tony La Russa another switch hitter with which to deploy situationally as needed. Below are Danny’s 2021 numbers vs Hernandez.
That’s a LARGE upgrade imo.
In my gut, I really felt like this was a solid deal, especially against the other potential 2b trade targets. Maybe I’ve just always liked Cesar, but I figured it was worth while to run back the last couple tree years of them guys and see how it looks.
Wow, the Beef’s good old memory was pretty much right on. These are similar enough players that getting any of the three should work out just fine. I know Eduardo is the old friend and I know Adam Frazier is hitting like Ty Cobb or some shit this year, but these boys seems mighty similar over the last 3 seasons. So no need to FOMO, like you probably did if you missed the 108 / SoxMachine tailgate in Milwaukee last weekend.
Konnor Pilkington is going to Cleveland. He was drafted by the White Sox in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State. His pro career to this point has had mixed results, but 2021 has started off quite promising as he has made 14 starts throwing 62 innings with a 3.48 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in Birmingham.
According to Fangraphs.com’s the BOARD, he was NOT rated in the White Sox pre-season top 34, although his performance in 2021 has bumped up his FV to 40, which undoubtedly would’ve put him safely in their top 30 if re-examined today. The below screen shot shows basically averagish tools across the board.
These are the types of guys that Cleveland has made their living off of in the last decade and a half, but for the White Sox this doesn’t appear to be too much of a cost and certainly doesn’t change the construction of their top 10 prospects in any way shape or form.
I really liked this move by Rick Hahn and company. This is the type of move that a team trying to improve a 26 man roster for the playoffs needs to do. Adding league average players at positions of need and displacing replacement level players in the process. Given the cost in a buyers market like this, it would probably behoove the White Sox to spend the last 16 hours or so, of this trade deadline looking for similar deals wherever possible. Marginal upgrades provide marginal increases in playoff series win probabilities and every little edge counts.