After Joey Gallo trade, is Cleveland Indians 2B Cesar Hernandez New York’s missing piece?
The trade deadline is in full swing with trade after trade coming through the notifications. While the Cleveland Indians have been silent so far, they could soon become active. While the New York Yankees just made one of the biggest deals of the deadline so far, acquiring Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers, the Bronx Bombers are still one more piece away.
A Gold Glove right-fielder, Gallo will cause a game of musical chairs in the outfield for New York, but that should still leave one spot up for grabs in the lineup. First base. While Gallo has experience at first, it doesn’t make sense to pull a player of his caliber out of the outfield. Luckily, the Cleveland Indians might have just the player to solve that problem.
Before anyone starts to get anxious, we’re not talking about Bobby Bradley. No, we’re talking about Cesar Hernandez. Yes, the second baseman but thanks to the Yankees’ versatility, Hernandez could be the perfect player to fill out New York’s lineup.
New York is having one of their worst seasons in club history in terms of offensive production from the first base slot. The only team with a lower OPS from first is, well, the Cleveland Indians. So, what the Yankees could do is put Hernandez at second and move D.J. LeMahieu over to first.
While LeMahieu is a former Gold Glove second baseman, so is Hernandez so they wouldn’t miss a beat there. As for first, LeMahieu has already started over 30 games there which isn’t too far off from the amount of games at second for the 33-year old utility infielder.
The question for the Yankees would be why Hernandez? New York has been rumored as a team to land Trevor Story or some of the other top players on the market. Unfortunately, the price for Gallo would leave them with few desirable assets for a trade of that nature. Meanwhile, the Tribe might be willing to give up Hernandez for a much lower price than what Story will go for.
Hernandez would essentially fill the same void defensively and would come at a lower price on the books, if that matters to the Yankees. He also has an additional year of control thanks to his club option for next season. Not to mention, Hernandez fits very well into what the New York Yankees lineup is all about.
What the Gallo trade showed us is that New York values a strong defender and a power bat. When it comes to second basemen, there might not be a player that fits that description better than Cesar Hernandez this season. As we’ve said, he’s the defending Gold Glove winner for the American League at second base.
As for the power, he’s currently adding onto a career-high for home runs in a single season after blasting his 17th of the season against St. Louis on Wednesday. That mark is fourth among all second basemen behind only Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve and Brandon Lowe and I don’t think any of them will be available any time soon.
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Adding Hernandez would give the Yankees arguably the best power lineup in baseball. Sure, there would be a lot of strikeouts and the average wouldn’t be the best, but that doesn’t seem to be the team’s focal point. If power is what they want, then adding Hernandez makes a lot of sense.
A batting order that includes Hernandez, Gallo, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez seems like a nightmare for opposing pitchers. That doesn’t include LeMahieu, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres plus someone to round out the outfield. That’s a power nightmare if even just one or two of those players are on.
With Gallo leading the way with 25 blasts, the combination of Gallo, Hernandez, Judge, Stanton and Sanchez would have a combined 96 home runs. Just those five players, 95 home runs this year. For perspective, the Pittsburgh Pirates have 82 as a team this year and the Arizona Diamondbacks have 92. The Cleveland Indians don’t have too many more at 125.
Are there better options for the Yankees to fill their final void in the lineup? Sure. Are they going to find a better deal within their price range than Cesar Hernandez? Probably not. While it pains any team to deal with New York, a trade is a trade. If they are offering the best offer and the front office thinks the deal is worth it, then you make the trade. That could be what ends up happening if the New York Yankees stay aggressive and call up the Cleveland Indians.