Trade Cesar! Okay, I’ll bite – but to where, and for whom?

Hernandez is associated with a half-decade of losing by a fan base frustrated with his roller-coaster production. His replacement is in house. So, where could the Phillies deal him? (Ian D’Andrea)

The 2019 Major League Baseball trade deadline is now less than two weeks away. As always, rumor and speculation are running rampant around the game, especially on social media.

Our Philadelphia Phillies are certainly not immune to any of this, and in fact are one of the most fascinating teams to watch as the July 31 deadline draws closer.

Will the Phillies be buyers, trying to push themselves back to the postseason for the first time in eight years? Will general manager Matt Klentak stand pat, either believing that no move will be enough, or just finding none palatable? Will he sell away players and punt the season?

Well, in looking out over the current baseball landscape and the team roster, there is a very real possibility that the Phillies could wind up as both buyers and sellers this time around.

Though owner John Middleton authorized the spending of a half-billion dollars in contracts to improve the everyday lineup, there was almost no attention paid to upgrading the pitching staff, especially the starting rotation. That is proving  fatal flaw. There are also a few players who have been around over the last handful of losing campaigns who have nearly worn out their welcome among many fans.

One player who has been the subject of much social media speculation has been second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Now 29-years-old, the native of Venezuela has been the Phillies starter at the keystone position for much of the last five years. Those have been mostly long, bottom-dwelling seasons for an increasingly frustrated fan base, many of whom feel it is time to turn the page from one of the last vestiges of that losing near-past.


Kingery is ready to take over as the Phillies starting second baseman. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

I have been publicly and vocally leading that call to deal Hernandez and to turn the position over to 25-year-old Scott Kingery. In fact, I have been pushing that since early in the 2018 season, when the Phillies first called Kingery up to the big-leagues and began playing him out of position.

Kingery won a minor league Gold Glove Award at second base during an outstanding 2017 campaign, one that put him on the prospect map. But since promoting him, the Phillies have used him at seven of the nine positions on the field. They have used Kingery as a Swiss army knife, pushing him around the diamond to fill in whatever injury opens a position on a given day.

With just nine of those games, five starts, at his natural position of second base, the Phillies have failed to truly maximize him as an asset in order to cover for their organizational failure to build big-league quality depth and to keep running Hernandez out despite the incumbent’s inconsistencies.


Hernandez will turn 30 next year, and will be arbitration-eligible for a final time before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2020 season. Both his on-base percentage and OPS+ are now down for a second straight season. Still, Fangraphs defensive statistics reveal that he has something to offer with his glove. And both is batting average and slugging percentage are up from poor 2018 levels.

Now would appear to be an ideal time to deal Hernandez. I simply cannot imagine the club investing in him with a contract extension for 2021 and beyond for his ages 32+ seasons when they have Kingery ready to play every day, a natural at the position, and five years younger.


So, that leaves the question of where might the Phillies find a fit as a trade partner? What team, if any, could use Hernandez, and what might any team have that might interest Klentak as a return?

Let’s begin by taking a look around the rosters of MLB teams to see if we can find any clubs who might be in the market for a second baseman.

Among contenders there are the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. Each of these teams would appear to fit the category of a contender with whom Hernandez would arguably be an upgrade at second base.

Now, what might the Phillies expect in return? Let’s face it, Hernandez is not likely to yield a top prospect as a payoff. At least not by himself. And every MLB organization protects its young pitching, which is the Phillies area of biggest need.

Spectacular defender Jackie Bradley Jr would shore up center field for the Phillies. (Keith Allison)

You might get the A’s to come off someone like 23-year-old righty Grant Holmes. Coming off a 2018 season derailed by rotator cuff troubles, the 2014 first rounder could become a solid bullpen piece. Ditto the Indians with lefty Sam Hentges, a big 22-year-old southpaw who was a fourth rounder in that same 2014 MLB Draft.

I recently speculated that an interesting fit for the Phillies to take over as the everyday center fielder would be Jackie Bradley Jr.of the Bosox. The spectacular defender is the same age and in the same contract situation as Hernandez. The Red Sox could slide Andrew Benintendi over to center field as their starter for years to come.

Perhaps a deal sending Hernandez, a lefty reliever in either Adam Morgan or Jose Alvarez, and prospect arm Adonis Medina would entice Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski to solidify his second base position with Hernandez for the rest of this season and next. The lefty bullpen piece is something that Boston needs as well as they try to repeat as world champions.


There are other pieces the Phillies could deal away as the deadline approaches, and still be considered as both buying and selling, keeping themselves in position to contend for an NL Wildcard now while possibly obtaining pieces to help for a better 2020 run.

Among the names who could be dealt in addition to Hernandez in such a deal are third baseman Maikel Franco, relievers Hector Neris and Juan Nicasio, and outfielder Roman Quinn. Of the current starting rotation members, and from among Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin could find themselves used as trade bait in a package.

The Phillies have a number of prospects who could be of interest to another ball club in addition to Medina. Those likely to be available include pitchers Enyel De Los Santos, Ranger Suarez, Jo Jo Romero and Cole Irvin. Slugging outfield prospect Jhaily Ortiz could be available and used as part of a package deal as well.

It would be extremely surprising to see the Phillies simply sit out this trade deadline. Someone, likely a few someones, are going to be leaving. The important question that remains to be answered: Who will that be, what will be the return, and how will management’s moves effect the ability of the 2019 team to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot through the dog days of August and stretch run of September?






  1. delmo

    July 18, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Nice try. Everyone knows you now move the 2B plus the 3B. Do not expect much. You need decision-makers playing 3D chess. This regime stocked shelf with arietta, hunter, neshek, santana; forgetting that hoskins can barely handle 1B and inserted him in left. For the encore they philled isle 7 with nicasio, robertson, avila , rodruguez, goslin, anywho , drafted zero and completed abject phailure of s. american recruiting program/training academies. Are they even playing checkers? Let us extend contracts to reward this fine, exemplary performance. Philanthropic Phil of Philly is Phullfilled. Let us not forget they brought in a field manager with zero previous major league experience. Beautiful

  2. Mike

    July 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Your Jackie Bradley Jr. scenario makes no sense. Phillies farm system is lacking good young arms, but you want to trade one for a CF, which is a position one of our top prospects can play?

    • Matt Veasey

      July 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      I am not personally convinced that Haseley is an everyday impact player who a contending team wants starting in center field. And Moniak is at least two years away. Bradley is the best defensive center fielder in the game today, one who I believe would make a difference. Medina is a piece who can be dealt in such a deal. Not convinced he will be more than a possible back-end starter, if that. But hey, feel free to keep treading water and spinning wheels. I’m looking to get better fast and become a true contender.

  3. Pat O

    July 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    I’m rattled. You wanna trade for a center fielder who can’t hit a lick and you want to trade one of our top prospects for him? Lol what are we talking about? Bradley stinks

    • Matt Veasey

      July 18, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      Guessing you are one of those who I mentioned, who only look at the offensive stats and don’t know the player. If you knew Bradley at all, and if you actually knew the Phillies prospects, you wouldn’t be questioning this as sternly. Medina is losing his luster with many evaluators, I’d deal him in a heartbeat for a genuine talent like Bradley, who is the best defensive center fielder in the game today.

  4. Randy

    July 18, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I would take Bradley in a straight up trade for Cesar. Not giving up anything else in return. I get it the guy is a good defensive CF’er. So was Ben Revere. This lineup needs another solid bat. Bradley does not fit the bill. I’d rather see what Hasely can do. We’re not going anywhere this year right now anyway, Give the kid a shot.

  5. Phanatic

    July 18, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    I understand what you’re saying about defense but the Phillies are not hitting and you want to add a non-hitter to the lineup. With the terrible pitching we have, how does a non-hitter help?

    If the Phillies were scoring 6 runs per game maybe, but JBJ is pretty much a zero at the plate. The Red Sox can afford him because they have hitters on the team. The Phils are not hitting.


    July 19, 2019 at 5:24 am

    That may be the dumbest trade proposal ever you already have Bradley in Roman Quinn.

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