Hernández, Red Sox complete 2-year deal

February 2nd, 2021

The Red Sox got their next Brock Holt in the form of Kiké Hernández, a super-utility player who plays every position but catcher.

The Red Sox on Tuesday announced the signing, which was first reported on Jan. 22. A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that the deal is for two years and $14 million.

Hernández, who won a World Series with the Dodgers in 2020, will help fill the void the Red Sox have at second base. The Red Sox told Hernández that he will get the bulk of his reps at second base, but he could also see time in center field -- where Boston appears likely to lose Jackie Bradley Jr. in free agency -- and in the corner outfield spots while also spelling here and there at shortstop.

“The plan is to come in and establish myself at second base,” Hernández told reporters Tuesday. “But I enjoy moving around, and I’ve gotten used to it the past seven years. As long as I can be in that lineup every day, I don’t care what position I’m playing.”

While the defensive versatility Hernández possesses is a clear benefit -- as the Red Sox learned firsthand with Holt from 2014-19 -- he can also hit, particularly against lefties. In 893 career plate appearances against lefties, Hernández has an .820 OPS. Securing an everyday role was at the top of Hernández’s wish list, and he believes it could help make him a more reliable option against righties, too. Hernández’s best full offensive season with the Dodgers came in ’18 (.806 OPS, career-best 21 homers), the year he received the most plate appearances of his career.

“It’s not always easy when you go 0-for-4 and that gets you two or three days off,” he said. “So to have that trust where everybody goes through slumps, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be out of the lineup, brings a lot to the table.”

In 690 career games -- all but 42 of them with the Dodgers -- Hernández has a slash line of .240/.313/.425 with 71 homers and 227 RBIs.

Defensively, Hernández has split his career starts the following way: 11 at first base, 132 at second base, 56 at shortstop, 14 at third base, 60 in left, 128 in center and 35 in right.

Hernández’s signing reunites him with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a man Hernández has known since he was 10 years old and his father was coaching on Cora’s winter-ball team, Criollos de Caguas, in Puerto Rico. Hernández estimates that he and Cora communicated with each other five to six times this winter, and he said that relationship made his decision to sign with Boston easier.

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“I don’t know if playing for Alex is a dream come true, because when I was a kid I was just imagining myself playing in the big leagues,” said Hernández. “But it’s pretty close. I’m really looking forward to getting to know Alex as a manager. I know him as a dude, and now I want to get to know him as a manager.”

While the Red Sox haven’t made any splashy moves this winter, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has added depth to his position-player group with and Hernández, and also to the pitching staff with righty and the re-signing of lefty .

Hernández said he was not ready to go to a rebuilding team after experiencing years of success in Los Angeles, and he already believes his new club could surprise some people in 2021.

“I love the fact that people are counting the Red Sox out of it,” he said. “It keeps us quiet coming in. This team has a lot of potential.”