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Red Sox Rumors: Kike Hernandez Agrees to 1-Year, $10M Contract Extension

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 6, 2022

Enrique Hernandez (Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The Boston Red Sox and outfielder Enrique "Kike" Hernández reached an agreement Monday on a one-year, $10 million contract extension for the 2023 MLB season.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported details of the versatile defender's new deal. Hernandez was previously set to become a free agent after the current campaign.

The 31-year-old Puerto Rico native was a key part of the Los Angeles Dodgers' championship team in 2020, and he enjoyed a strong first season in Boston last year with a .786 OPS and 20 home runs across 134 appearances.

He missed over two months this season with a hip injury that sidelined him from early June through mid-August, and he's struggled at the plate when healthy with a .639 OPS, which would represent the second-lowest mark of his nine-year career (.607 in 2016).

"I've never missed that much time in my career and I kind of felt like I wasn't part of the team in a way," Hernández said in August. "There wasn't anything I could do to help the team, so it was very frustrating. I feel like I lost a full season but I'm glad to be healthy and glad to be back."

Though he's struggled at the plate, he's remained a valuable defender with three outs above average (OAA) in center field this season, per FanGraphs. He recorded nine OAA last year.

His versatility could prove important for Boston over the winter. The club has several players who could hit free agency during the offseason, including two key hitters in shortstop Xander Bogaerts and first baseman Eric Hosmer who have player options in their contracts.

Add in third baseman Rafael Devers, who may land on the trade block if no progress is made toward a long-term extension, and the Red Sox's roster could look a lot different by next spring.

Hernández has played every position besides catcher at the major-league level, so he'll provide flexibility if the team is forced to completely reshape its lineup for 2023.

Boston has faded out of the playoff race with a 67-69 record, so the focus for the 2009 sixth-round pick will be trying to get back on track at the plate over the final month.

The Red Sox continue a three-game road series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

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