César Hernández led the Phillies in games played, hits and runs scored in the 2010s, yet it appears that his time in Philadelphia will not continue into the next decade.
According to Matt Gelb of The Athletic, the Phillies will not tender the second baseman a contract for the 2020 season in tandem with their decision to let third baseman Maikel Franco go as well. This will allow Hernández to become a free agent for the first time.
The decision to allow Hernández to walk most likely stems from the salary he would have received through arbitration, which MLB Trade Rumors projects at $11.8 million. The Phillies may now choose to plug the hole left by Hernández with a cheaper option or with an in-house option like Scott Kingery or Jean Segura, allowing them to upgrade at another position.
Hernández’s departure marks the start of a new era for the team. He had been a long-time member of the Phillies organization and was a staple of the club’s rebuilding years.
Originally signed at 16 out of Venezuela in 2006, he made his major league debut in 2013. Hernández, now 29, had become a full-time starter by 2015. He was a consistent face on some teams without much of an identity and provided the Phillies with solid production as they finished near the bottom of the league year after year.
As the Phillies attempted to grow talent through their system during the rebuild, Hernández was one of the few players that fit the bill. He became a true home-grown talent that turned himself into a very capable regular in the majors.
Despite the positives that Hernández gave throughout the years, the Phillies are now moving in a new direction. The team is all-in on winning in 2020 and needs players that will move the needle toward a postseason berth. A second baseman worth 1.7 fWAR in 2019 set to make around $12 million was just not in the blueprints for that goal.
The Phillies will now look to add more in free agency. Third baseman Mike Moustakas signed with the Cincinnati Reds Monday. They have been connected to former New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius.
The moves they have made and are reported to be interested in display one important message: The rebuild is over.
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