Is it too early for the return of Cesar Hernandez?

After the week that was the Great Blue Jay Massacre of 2014, we were bound to see some roster shuffling with the big club. It began with the outrighting of Shawn Camp and the promotion of Luis Garcia, which certainly did not pay any dividends for the team Thursday night.

It continued with the demotion of Freddy Galvis following the Phils’ 12-6 loss, a shock to none considering his hard-to-believe 2-for-42 start to the season. The Phillies will make a corresponding roster move prior to Friday’s game against the Mets, and the team now has a question that needs answering: Is it time for Cesar Hernandez to return?

Hernandez was scratched from last night’s game with a sore groin, though it doesn’t appear as if it is something that will keep him out long-term. Hernandez’s offensive success in Reading has been well documented, as he is hitting .353/.423/.518 since joining the Fightins in mid-April following Galvis’ activation from the disabled list.

What has troubled Hernandez has been his defense. Hernandez’s call-up hinges on this factor. He’s made seven errors at third base in his 14 games there, and one more in his short amount of time at second base. The Phillies sent Hernandez down to get work at third base, and now must ask themselves if they are willing to bring him back as an unfinished product.

There is an option in Lehigh Valley, in the form of Reid Brignac. Brignac hit a pair of three-run homers last night, and now has an .871 OPS in 109 at-bats this year. His bat has been a positive, and he can play second base and shortstop, but there would be question marks at third base.

The Phillies have options as of now with the bench. They can promote Hernandez, leaving Brignac in AAA. They can promote Brignac, leaving Hernandez in AA (or potentially promoting him to AAA). Or, they can take a more drastic approach, letting Jayson Nix go, and promoting both Brignac and Hernandez.

Nix has offered very little, hitting .154/.214/.231. Sure, he can provide a surer glove at third base (like Galvis), but has given the Phillies very little at the plate. He’s essentially been a replacement-level third basemen throughout his career.

For now, it would seem that the Phillies’ plan would be to promote Brignac for tonight’s game. His call-up seems like a formality at this point, as he can play multiple positions (and hopefully provide a little bit with the bat).

The Phillies should go one step further with the promotion of Hernandez. Sure, the glove work has been lacking at third base in Reading, but Nix and Galvis have added so little to the big club offensively. It would seem to be time to cut ties with Nix and bring Hernandez back. Will Ruben Amaro, Jr. and staff see it this way?

The likely answer is no, as the Phillies sent Hernandez down for the specific reason of working on his game at third base. He has not succeeded defensively, which would likely give the front office the impression that he needs more time in AA.

For now, it would be fair to expect a Brignac promotion. Hernandez shouldn’t be far behind, but we’re likelier in for a longer wait than we should have to deal with.

10 thoughts on “Is it too early for the return of Cesar Hernandez?

  1. I am by no means suggesting this as a reasonable move, but aren’t the Phillies just as likely to think way inside the box and bring up the veteran with 868 games played in the majors, mostly at short?

      1. I think they should stop worrying about 3rd and just let Asche play every day for an extended time. Send Hernandez to Lehigh Valley for a while.

  2. I still don’t get the calls for Hernandez to be called up since the only position he can play right now is 2b. Asche needs to play 3b every day until Franco is ready because he’s the best option they have right now.

    Eventually Ruf will become the extra bench player and Nix or Brignac become the swing man in the infield.

    1. Exactly. There is no need for a backup 3B on the ML team … They need to figure out what if anything they have with Asche, and that means playing him every day from now until midseason. Promote Hernandez now and you’re just futzing with the development of two players.

  3. The lack of org planning is appalling. As soon as chase was resigned last year, they should have had Cesar playing third the rest of the season plus winter ball. As for 3B, let Asche play another month every day and see what happens, and where Franco is at. This playing, benched, playing, benched is not the best way to develop Cody. He should be playing everyday, with an occasional day off vs a tough LHP.

  4. Maybe Rueban will be able to work with PennDot after he is relieved!!!!!!!!!!!!!He can take Ed Wade with him as his Special Assistant in charge of new holes.

  5. Don’t know that you can place the blame for Asche’s playing time on Amaro unless you think he’s telling Sandberg how to write out the line-up card each day.

Comments are closed.