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Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman César Hernández is headed back to Cleveland, with MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman first reporting the one-year deal. Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports that the deal, pending a physical, also includes a club option for 2022.
After Cleveland acquired both Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario as part of the Francisco Lindor trade with the New York Mets, there was some thought that the franchise may not pursue a reunion with Hernández. However, despite cutting costs this winter, Cleveland brought back Hernández, and Meisel reports that he’s expected to be the opening day starter at second base.
Hernández, still just 30, spent parts of seven years with the Phillies, slashing .277/.352/.381. Between 2016 and 2019, Hernández started at second base each opening day, tying him with franchise icon Chase Utley for the most opening day starts at the position in the 2010s.
With both Jean Segura and Scott Kingery in the fold – and the eventual plan to pursue Didi Gregorius – the Phillies non-tendered Hernández last offseason. He caught on in Cleveland, where after signing a one-year deal, he slashed .283/.355/.408, while drawing 24 walks and leading the American League with 20 doubles. Additionally, Hernández won his first Gold Glove Award in 2020, after he posted a career-high six defensive runs saved.