The interest was real as Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and his front office brass went out and found themselves an energetic super-utility player to join the 2021 Boston Red Sox, with the reported signing of Enrique Hernández to a two-year $14 million deal on Friday. Kiké, as Hernández is affectionally referred to as, had spent the last six seasons as a member of the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hernández, like many players in 2020 struggled rather mightily with the bat, slashing just .230/.270/.410, with an OPS+ of 83, in 48 of the abbreviated 60 games. Hernández might never replicate the 2018 season that had him hit .256/.336/.470, with an OPS+ of 117, but that’s not to say that the Red Sox didn’t just sign someone of real value.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Brock Holt 2.0?
Hernández can offer the Red Sox quite a bit of versatility. Over the course of his seven-year playing career, he has played every position aside from pitcher and catcher. If that type of player seems awfully familiar to Red Sox fans, it’s because Hernández’s type of play is nearly identical to former Red Sox fan-favorite, Brock Holt.
Many Red Sox fans will cry out, “why didn’t the Red Sox just bring back Holt?” Any prospect of a Holt reunion came and went after the Red Sox didn’t re-sign him for the 2020 season. They also didn’t pick him up after the Brewers released Holt in August. As painful as it might be to accept, Brock Holt‘s time in Boston has officially come to an end, and now it’s time for Kiké’s personality to shine.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Where Does Kiké Fit?
Hernández can fill a multitude of positions of the open holes on the 2021 Boston Red Sox roster. With long-tenured Red Sox Jackie Bradley Jr. rumored to be leaving in free agency, a position in either center field or right field opens. The Red Sox could play Alex Verdugo either in center or right. Hernández, however, might fit best on the Red Sox roster as the every day second baseman if the Red Sox choose not to sign someone along the lines of Kolten Wong. Hernández would bridge the gap until future second baseman, Jeter Downs is ready to take over the position full time by 2023.
Kiké Hernández might not be the sexiest signing the Red Sox could have made this offseason. He is however, a valuable piece to the puzzle. His numbers against left-handed pitchers are .263/.345/.474, compared to .222/.286/.386 against right-handed pitchers, which just might prove to be valuable in particular spots throughout the season.
2021 Boston Red Sox: Clubhouse Culture
Another piece of added value that Kiké Hernández brings to the 2021 Boston Red Sox is his infectious personality. Even in their championship title run in 2018, the Red Sox seemingly lacked a great deal of wild, or whacky personalities. Aside from Brock Holt and Rafael Devers, most of the men went to work, did their job at an elite level, and won a World Championship.
Like Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Kiké Hernández is from Puerto Rico. Cora also selected Hernández to be a part of Team Puerto Rico for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Having previous experience with the current manager and being a fellow countryman of Cora and catcher Christian Vázquez can only make the clubhouse more comforting not only for Puerto Rican players but any player of Latin descent.
Aristotle said it best with, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” The Red Sox are better when they’re a cohesive unit, they’re better when they put away the old adage, “25 guys, 25 cabs.” Chemistry is vital to success, and so is getting the right piece to fit into the puzzle. Sometimes the right piece isn’t as flashy or as expensive as we previously believed. Sometimes that right piece is found within the wide smile of the super-utility guy that just wants to make baseball fun.
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