After several days of quiet on the trade rumor front, the White Sox finally started their trade deadline additions.
This morning, it was announced that the White Sox acquired Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians (Guardians) in exchange for AA starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington.
Hernandez is slashing .231/.307/.431 this season in Cleveland with 18 home runs, good for a .319 wOBA and 100 wRC+. He has posted 1.8 fWAR in 96 games as Cleveland’s primary second baseman this year. His contract expires at the end of the year – however, he does have a club option for the 2022 season, so there is some flexibility for the White Sox if he has a great end to the season.
Pilkington was the White Sox’ third-round draft pick in 2018. He had struggled in previous seasons but had shown some upside in his debut in AA this season, posting a 3.48 ERA in 62 IP for the Barons this season. He was likely a very interesting arm for Cleveland as a left-hander who has seen some improvement this year.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Konnor Pilkington would have needed to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. The White Sox likely saw this opportunity to trade Pilkington before potentially exposing him to the draft – since they are likely not in a position to add him to the 40-man roster. These types of considerations are important for GMs when making these sorts of trades.
Why this Makes Sense
For the White Sox, this is a classic trade deadline move for a necessary rental. The White Sox don’t have to give up too much in return to get a solid ballplayer. He’s very similar to Eduardo Escobar: not a lot of on-base potential, but he adds some necessary power to a lineup that is sorely missing it.
He’s an obvious upgrade over both Danny Mendick and Leury Garcia at 2B and is the type of player the White Sox would feel more confident in at 2B to start playoff games. His club option for next year gives the White Sox some flexibility heading into next season that someone like Eduardo Escobar did not have.
This likely isn’t the last move for the White Sox, as relief help is still necessary. According to Jon Morosi, they’ve checked in on both Richard Rodriguez and Paul Fry, among other names – all of which would be welcome additions to a team that seriously needs some bullpen help.
As I mentioned in my trade deadline article last week, the White Sox don’t necessarily need to make the biggest moves – just the correct ones. Filling the 2B hole is certainly a good and important move.
We will continue to update this article as more information becomes available!
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