Detroit Tigers: César Hernández brings competition with MiLB deal

Former Washington Nationals second baseman César Hernández prepares for an at-bat.
Former Washington Nationals second baseman César Hernández prepares for an at-bat. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers sign César Hernández to MiLB deal with Spring Training invite.

The Detroit Tigers are moving toward Spring Training as the calendar shifts toward February already. They made a move to bring in César Hernández on a minor league contract. He will join the organization and was invited to Spring Training to try and earn a spot on the big league roster.

The reality is the Detroit Tigers may not bring Hernández north with them for the season, but the signing was a good one. There are a couple of reasons that bringing in Hernández will benefit the Tigers moving forward.

At the very least, Hernández will provide some depth for the team to have another infielder in the minors to call upon as needed. Hernández has been in the league for ten seasons with four franchises. Most recently, spending 2022 with the Washington Nationals.

In 2022, Hernández played in 147 games where he slashed .248/.311/.318 with 28 doubles for the Nationals. He played second & third base while also playing a chunk of games as a corner outfielder. Not to mention, he's a switch-hitter.

The Tigers bringing in Hernández is good for competition this Spring. He will compete for roles throughout the infield and try to prove his worth to earn a spot on the roster. He's going to compete, that's for sure, which will be good for the Tigers infielders, who may feel like their job is secure.

But Hernández may end up in Toledo to start the 2023 season. Tigers President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris said that the team was looking to bring in a left-handed hitting infielder. Even as a switch-hitter, Hernández is partially the answer to that.

Even if he does start in Toledo, he may be able to bring a Harold Castro-like feel to the table. While the Tigers moved on from Hittin' Harold, Hernández seems like someone who could play a similar utility role with Detroit's organization.

Hernández starting in the minors with the likes of waiver addition Andy Ibáñez and Jermaine Palacios, who had a great winter, may not be the worst thing. He's on a minor league deal and will be competitive in spring ball.

After that, he'll provide depth for the Tigers to use him in case of injury or for a change of pace. I could see Hernández spending time on the big league roster, being a bat off the bench, or an option to give players like Jonathan Schoop a day off to rest.

It's an exciting move, nothing groundbreaking, but something that could pan out to be quite valuable in the long run if Hernández does indeed get some big-league playing time that he's able to make the most of.

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