The Red Sox and free-agent utilityman Enrique Hernandez have reached agreement on a multi-year deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that Hernandez’s new contract with Boston is good for $14 million over two years. It also includes deferrals and is pending a physical.
Hernandez, 29, had spent the previous six seasons with the Dodgers, most recently slashing a modest .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games played in 2020.
He also put together a decent postseason for Los Angeles en route to their first World Series title since 1988 by posting a .755 OPS across 15 games and 31 plate appearances this past October.
A right-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Hernandez has proven to be quite the versatile player in his tenure with the Dodgers, seeing playing time all around the infield, outfield, and even the pitcher’s mound (one appearance in 2018).
Going back to last season, Los Angeles deployed the Puerto Rican at second base 27 times, in right field seven times, in left field four times, in center field three times, and at first base and shortstop two times each.
Based off these totals, one might assume Hernandez’s best position defensively is second base, which in this case is true.
Per FanGraphs, the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. infielder/outfielder played 220 1/3 innings at second base in 2020. In those 220 1/3 innings, he was worth positive-8 defensive runs saved despite posting a negative-2.6 ultimate zone rating.
Going into the offseason, the Red Sox sought out to address their second base issues coming off a 2020 season in which that particular position group put up an American League-worst .586 OPS and league-worst wRC+ of 55.
The addition of Hernandez, who by no means is an offensive superstar, might not be too appealing on the surface, but this is really a solid pickup for the Sox.
That being the case because when they don’t need him to play second base, the club could start him at a bevy of other positions, including all three spots in the outfield if necessary.
As an added bonus, which the Red Sox likely took into consideration here, Hernandez owns a lifetime wRC+ of 120 in 893 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching.
That attribute could very well come in handy if Hernandez was to be used a platoon option with Andrew Benintendi in left field, assuming Benintendi is still on the team by Opening Day.
Of course, given his connections to Puerto Rico, Hernandez should be familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who, as Team Puerto Rico’s general manager for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, picked the former sixth-round draft pick to play for his home island’s team.
In signing Hernandez to a two-year deal, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have now added four free-agents (Hernandez, Martin Perez, Matt Andriese, Hunter Renfroe) on major-league contracts so far this winter.
Of that group, Hernandez is the first to get a deal with a guaranteed second year as opposed to a club option.
(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)