Cleveland Indians make Cesar Hernandez a division rival
If there was one player that seemed almost certain to be traded from the Cleveland Indians roster, it was Cesar Hernandez. He had the most draw due to his career-high home runs this season and his contract has the option to stick around for the 2022 season on a cheap deal. The downside, he went to a division rival in the Chicago White Sox.
At the time of the deal, that move stung a little bit. However, given the young talent of Nick Madrigal who is set to return healthy in 2022, Hernandez was viewed as a rental for the Southside Sox. Cleveland is far out of the divisional race, so that didn’t hurt them as much as it could. Then the Craig Kimbrel trade happened.
Landing arguably the best reliever on the market, the White Sox sent Madrigal across town to the Cubbies, making it seem like Hernandez was no longer a rental. Cleveland’s front office couldn’t have known that at the time of the deal, but that’s the risk you run trading within the division.
In return, Cleveland received a strong pitching prospect in Konnor Pilkington. A third round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Pilkington has shown promise. He has a high strikeouts per nine rate and a low walks per nine, making for a solid framework that Cleveland’s farm system can work with.
Pilkington has 14 games under his belt in Double-A, so the development is coming along. He most likely, and hopefully, won’t have to contribute in the majors this year, but could be in the mix very soon for a spot in the starting rotation.
Many were hoping Cleveland would get a bit more for Hernandez, but Pilkington has the tools to be really good. The fact that acquiring Hernandez allowed the White Sox to go get Kimbrel hurts, but overall it wasn’t an awful deal.