Phillies: What is the state of second baseman Cesar Hernandez?

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21: Cesar Hernandez #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies high-fives teammates after scoring in the fifth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on September 21, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21: Cesar Hernandez #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies high-fives teammates after scoring in the fifth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on September 21, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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What was believed to be the Phillies most tradeable piece will likely remain on the roster heading into 2018. But how long will Cesar Hernandez remain in Philadelphia?

Recently, MLB Network has been releasing its yearly episodes of their series “Top 10 Right Now”. They base it off of a program called “the Shredder” which makes unbiased decisions based off previous stats and future projections. The shredder released its top 10 second basemen, ranking Cesar Hernandez of the Phillies No. 10.

Hernandez arguably could have been higher upon that list as Hernandez has more stolen bases, walks, hits, runs, triples, total bases and a higher batting average and on base percentage in both 2016 and 2017 than ninth overall Neil Walker. His 2017 batting average of .294 was also higher than Ian Kinsler’s (8), Jonathan Schoop (7), Dustin Pedroia (6), Brian Dozier (3), and Robinson Cano’s (2). Ultimately Hernandez was named the fourth-best NL second baseman.

Ultimately, media rankings are meaningless when it comes to front office decisions. Entering this offseason, it appeared Hernandez had played his last game in the red and white pinstripes as he was at the center of Phillies trade rumors. However, to some people’s surprise, general manager Matt Klentak has held onto Hernandez, trading his double play partner Freddy Galvis instead.

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It is still uncertain how long Hernandez will remain a Phillie. Whether or not he is dealt at the 2018 trade deadline will absolutely depend on the state of the team’s season. Yet, even if the 2018 ends up to be a season without contention, Klentak should not deal Hernandez.

Currently, young slugger Rhys Hoskins and trade fantasies (or since they belong to Philly “Phanatics” should we call them Phantasies?) have stolen the headlines since August of last season.

Very few MLB fans and not enough Phillies fans have appreciated the consistency that Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez have had to carry the franchise since 2015, when they both played their first full seasons.

While Herrera has been stylish, hyped, and had some controversy, Hernandez has been silently great. Since 2015, the two have combined for a .287 batting average, 100 stolen bases, 239 extra base hits, 153 doubles, 883 hits and only 44 defensive errors. That is one great cornerstone duo to build upon. We are seeing this now as young players like Hoskins, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro join the squad as do veterans like Carlos Santana, Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.

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The driving reason behind getting rid of Hernandez is Scott Kingery, who should be major-league ready this season. Even then, the club shouldn’t be in a rush to get rid of Hernandez as they still might need him.

What if, going into 2019 Maikel Franco still hasn’t taken the next step? What if the Phillies can’t pull in the now shortstop Manny Machado? What would happen at third base? Well, both Crawford and Hernandez have major league experience at shortstop, second base, and third base. It has also been reported that Kingery will be moved around in the minors to prepare for the majors.

One of those three could replace Franco at third.

Next: Phillies prospect Mark Appel taking a break

If they had all three, the Phillies would have a great, young, rotatable set of infielders. Add that to the talented outfield surplus (which could add a man by the name of Bryce Harper) and what is hopefully a more developed pitching staff, that sure sounds like a World Series contender.

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