The Cleveland Indians have traded 2B Cesar Hernandez to the Chicago White Sox for pitching prospect Konnor Pilkington, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
Hernandez was the team’s regular second baseman and leadoff hitter, appearing in all but three games in 2021. He is currently hitting .231/.307/.431 with a career-high 18 home runs. The division-leading White Sox had been on the hunt for a middle infielder after the loss of 2B Nick Madrigal in June; Hernandez could prove to be a solid complement to star SS Tim Anderson as well as the power-hitting 1B Jose Abreu in the White Sox lineup.
In return, the Tribe will receive a pitching prospect with high potential in Konnor Pilkington. The left-hander has started 14 games for AA Birmingham this season, with a 3.48 ERA and an impressive .92 WHIP. He will likely be assigned to AA Akron upon his acquisition by the club.
With Hernandez’s contract set to expire after the 2021 season, it comes as no surprise that the Indians were shopping the veteran. They also were able to get a decent return for him in the form of a quality prospect who could bolster the team’s rotation in the future, especially considering their history of developing successful pitchers in recent years. The organization also has no shortage of young infielders; one can expect to see Ernie Clement assume the role of everyday second baseman and possibly look for infielders Owen Miller and/or Nolan Jones to get called up in the near future.
Despite the possible upsides of this trade, it all but signals the Tribe’s concession of the American League Central race to Chicago, whom they now trail by 8.5 games with just over a third of the season left to play. While it was a long shot that the Indians would catch the front-running White Sox, trading them one of their better players essentially serves as waving the proverbial white flag. But it should be known by now that “good form” is far from the priority of this team’s ownership (see Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, and the new Guardians’ logo).
Enjoy Jose Ramirez while you still can, Cleveland.