Boston was not kind to Kiké Hernández, who was batting .222 with an OPS of .599 at the trade deadline. But while he struggled at Fenway, he was just what the Dodgers needed: a versatile utility man who could fit into whichever defensive configuration the team needed that day, with a strong bat against left-handed pitchers.
Acquired at the trade deadline for pitchers Nick Robertson and Justin Hagenman, Hernández delivered on that expectation throughout the second half of the season, turning his year around and showing that he needed the Dodgers just as much.
The Dodgers faced left-handed pitchers in seven of 10 games since his activation on July 26, and he and fellow newcomer Amed Rosario combined for 14 RBI in week 19 of the season. Hernández also had several multi-hit games for L.A., totaling 30 RBI by the end of the year and making a big impact at key moments—like the Dodgers’ NL West-clinching game. In total, he started over two-thirds of games, including 20 against right-handers and Game 3 of the NLDS, and worked with the Dodgers’ staff to improve his batting average to .262 with a wRC+ of 96.
On defense, Hernández continued to prove the trade was worth it by playing seven different positions for the Dodgers and maintaining a near-pristine fielding percentage at each of them. His flexibility and reliability proved essential, allowing the Dodgers to play around with fielding configurations after losing Gavin Lux to a pre-season injury and moving Mookie Betts to second base for several games at a time.
Hernández also brought his signature high-energy personality and love of the game back with him, something that manager Dave Roberts appreciated.
“I think there’s an abundance of gratitude and joy to be back here,” Roberts said in August. “He has been fantastic for everyone. I couldn’t be happier to have him.”
Hernández underwent double hernia surgery in October and is now a free agent.
Stats with the Dodgers: .262/.308/.423, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 96 wRC+, 0.5 rWAR, 0.3 fWAR
Salary: $10 million, of which the Dodgers paid $3,655,914
Game of the year
Hernández hit three extra-base hits on his birthday, August 23. His two doubles and homer helped power a 9-3 win against the Cleveland Guardians on the road and marked his fifth career game with three extra-base hits. Hernández also joined the club of Dodgers players who had very good birthdays this year: Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Jason Heyward, and Tony Gonsolin all played beautifully on their own big days.
An honorable mention for Kiké’s three-run double on August 1, trade deadline day, against the Oakland A’s at home. The game quickly showed that despite the Dodgers’ lack of flashy transactions, the moves they did make were not insignificant.