The trade deadline is approaching fast and while some teams have already gotten in on the action the Cleveland Indians sat on the sidelines. But, Thursday morning news broke that the club made its first move.
The club is finalizing a trade that will send second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who has a short, team friendly contract, to division rivals Chicago White Sox. This move will allow the club to get a much needed look at future middle infielders who are waiting for their shot. Hernandez is making $5 million this year and has a team option in 2022 for $6 million with no buyout. He will slide in at second for injured Nick Madrigal.
Hernadez played his first season in Cleveland during the shortened 2020 campaign where he earned his first Gold Glove Award. In 2020 Hernandez slashed .283/.355/.408 with 3 home runs over 58 games. This season the switch hitter is slashing .231/.307/.431 with a career high 18 home runs in 96 games.
In return, the club will receive LHP Konnor Pilkington from the White Sox. Pilkington has been throwing with the Sox Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons with a 3.48 ERA in 62 innings with 71 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP. Pilkington is 6’3” and will turn 24 in September. He was selected out of Mississippi State in Round 3, 81st pick overall by the Sox in the 2018 MLB Draft.
While a shot at the post season seems very slim to none, it doesn’t indicate the team with a payroll around $40 million needs to be super aggressive sellers. Moreso, the club needs to be decisive about which players are part of the future and which ones can be replaced by the up-and-coming talent. Another lineup shakeup is certainly in the cards before the deadline.
A season that has been plagued by injuries derailed the young club that was once holding steady at two games back in the division. Currently, the team is 50-49, and the club is 8.5 games back of the White Sox for first place in the division and five games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card.
More trade news to come.