Detroit Tigers Free Agent Review: Kiké Hernández

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 03: Kiké Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on July 3, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Pirates 8-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 03: Kiké Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on July 3, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Pirates 8-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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If the Detroit Tigers want to carry on the motif of bringing in World Series winners, here’s the case for Kiké Hernández.

I should have put this disclaimer for the article I did on Michael Brantley and it will be the case going forward. Our focus for the Detroit Tigers to sign players come from suggestions and ideas that fans have brought up during the season and among our contributors. So far, we have discussed a few names including his teammate, Joc Pederson. 

Even yesterday, we had the “Give us George Springer” comments.  We shall see what happens as I wrote about yesterday about teams that may be hesitant to give out multiple year contacts.

In September, I wrote that the Tigers should resign Jonathan Schoop based on a solid 2020 season and the familiarity he already has with Detroit. According to ESPN, ($), they have Schoop projected to get a one-year deal for $ 5 million.

If Schoop decides to sign elsewhere, the Tigers do have a few options they could go with. Let’s look at the whys and the why not of signing Enrique “Kiké” Hernández.

Why Hernandez?

Similar to Niko Goodrum, Hernández can play a variety of positions. In 2020, he played first base, shortstop, second base, and all three positions in the outfield.

He recently won the 2020 Fielding Bible Award in the “multi-position” category. Hernandez lead the MLB in runs saved with nine at second base. This was the first time he won this award. For the Tigers, who improved defensively in 2020 with their shifting techniques and Goodrum and Schoop being in the running for the Gold Glove, having another defensive glove-like Kiké does not hurt. There is some power in this bat, hitting 21 home runs in 2018 and 17 in 2019.

Why not Hernandez?

The decline in his offensive production gives me pause. His slash line of .230/.270/.410 was down from the previous season. While it was a shorter season, it was not the .256 with 21 home runs he hit in 2018.

He hit just .150 against offspeed pitching in 2020. That should also give you pause because like Nike Goodrum, he struggled against off-speed pitching. But, to be fair, he did .273 against breaking pitches but his XBA was at .183 in the same category.

Does he draw walks? Well for his career, he is at a 9% clip but his K rate, which for his career is 20.8%, he did strike out at a 25.8% clip this season.

Glove or Bat?

It really depends on your preference. I witness when the trend changed from if you were a defensive player in the infield, teams could live with a sub .250 average. But now, it is all about offense.

ESPN.com predicts like Schoop, he will get a one-year deal. If you want a defensive-minded player like Hernandez, he would be a good fit here. Plus, he is versatile so that is huge when it comes to injuries if they pile up. So it really depends on how you enjoy the game of baseball if you like Hernandez in Detroit.

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