KANSAS CITY – The Chicago White Sox have acquired infielder César Hernández (“SEH-zar”) from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for left-handed pitcher Konnor Pilkington. To make room for Hernández on the 40-man roster, the White Sox released right-handed pitcher Tyler Johnson.
Hernández, 31, is hitting .231/.307/.431 (87-376) with 17 doubles, two triples, a career-high 18 home runs, 47 RBI, 60 runs scored and 38 walks in 96 games with Cleveland in 2021. The switch-hitting Hernandez ranks among the American League second base leaders in extra-base hits (T2nd, 37), homers (3rd), total bases (3rd, 162), slugging percentage (5th), doubles (6th), RBI (6th), OPS (6th, .738) and hits (7th). His 18 home runs are tied for the third-most among major-league switch hitters this season.
A native of Valencia, Venezuela, Hernández won the AL Rawlings Gold Glove Award at second base in 2020. He finished the season with a .981 fielding percentage (4 ER/210 TC) and ranked second among AL second baseman with six defensive runs saved. Hernández also led the AL and finished third in the majors with 20 doubles.
“César Hernández provides our club with a valuable combination of a power bat in the middle infield and Gold-Glove quality defense,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “Adding a player like César gives Tony a strong and proven option at second base for the stretch run of the season and hopefully into October.”
Hernández is tied for second in the AL and third in the major leagues with five leadoff home runs this season, and his 18 career leadoff homers are tied for the seventh-most in baseball since 2016. He has played in 476 games since 2018, the fifth-most in the majors, and six behind MLB-leader Freddie Freeman (482) of Atlanta.
Hernández signed with Cleveland as a free agent on December 29, 2019 after spending his first seven major-league seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in 161 games in consecutive seasons with the Phillies, recording 15 homers and 60 RBI in 2018 and 14 home runs and 71 RBI in 2019.
Hernández is a career .272/.347/.388 (960-3,524) hitter with 150 doubles, 39 triples, 67 homers, 320 RBI and 502 runs scored in 986 career games over nine major-league seasons between the Phillies (2013-19) and Indians (2020-21). He played in both of Cleveland’s AL Wild Card Series games vs. the Yankees last season, his only career postseason appearances. Hernández originally was signed by Philadelphia as an international free agent on July 2, 2007.
Pilkington, 23, is 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA (24 ER/62.0 IP) and 71 strikeouts in 14 starts with Class AA Birmingham this season, his fourth in the White Sox system. He originally was selected by Chicago in the third round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University.
Johnson, 25, is 0-1 with a 9.56 ERA (17 ER/16.0 IP) and 22 strikeouts in 16 combined relief appearances between Class AAA Charlotte, Class A Winston-Salem and Class A Kannapolis. He originally was selected by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.
The White Sox 40-man roster remains at 40.