SF Giants among the 4 finalists for utility bat and former division foe

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three
Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Three / Norm Hall/GettyImages

While spring training games are officially underway, the SF Giants still remain active in free agency. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Giants are among the four finalists for veteran utility bat and former division foe Kiké Hernández.

SF Giants among the 4 finalists for utility bat and former division foe

Rosenthal lists the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, and the San Diego Padres as the other finalists along with the Giants. A decision is expected soon.

Of course, the Giants know Hernández well from his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 10-year veteran was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft by the Houston Astros out of the American Military Academy in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

Hernández was shipped to the Miami Marlins early in 2014 and then to the Dodgers in a seven-player deal in December of 2014. Since then, the veteran utility player has established himself as a nice role player and a thorn in the Giants' side. During his first stint with Dodgers, he had a knack for hitting left-handed pitching. This was especially true with Madison Bumgarner on the mound.

Throughout his career, Hernández has recorded a .239/.311/.409 line (93 OPS+) with an 8.9 percent walk rate, 19.8 percent strikeout rate, and a .170 ISO. Those numbers do not jump off of the page, but this includes a solid .801 career OPS against left-handed pitching. Overall, he struggled to the tune of a .646 OPS in 508 plate appearances split between the Boston Red Sox and Dodgers in 2023.

In the field, the 32-year-old has experience at every position except for catcher. That said, he no longer profiles as a shortstop, so that restricts some of his potential value.

This is not the first time that the Giants have expressed interest in Hernández. The right-handed bat confirmed that the Giants reached out to the Red Sox prior to the 2023 trade deadline. However, he was shipped to the Dodgers instead.

Adding Hernández would be an imperfect fit, but that is what you tend to get with players who are still available at this point in the offseason. The Giants have a surplus of right-handed-hitting infielders such as Wilmer Flores, Thairo Estrada, Marco Luciano, J.D. Davis, Tyler Fitzgerald, and Otto López. There would not be a ton of at-bats for him in the infield, especially since he is well below average with the glove at shortstop. That might have been one avenue for playing time in the infield.

Perhaps, there are some at-bats for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. The Giants' currently alignment leans heavily in favor of lefty bats including Michael Conforto, Jung Hoo Lee, and Mike Yastrzemski. Austin Slater will serve as the fourth outfielder.

It is likely that Hernández is looking for more than a fifth-outfielder role with occasional starts in the outfield. Playing time will be one quality that will influence his decision and it just does not feel like the Giants are a good fit.