The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro reports that Phillies second baseman César Hernández played through a broken foot during most of the second half of the 2018 season, GM Matt Klentak said. The bone healed on its own, so Hernández didn’t need to undergo offseason surgery and he is expected to be at full strength for the start of spring training.
Hernández, 28, fouled a ball off of his foot on July 6 against the Pirates. To that point, he had been carrying a .268/.379/.385 batting line. After that game through the end of the regular season, he hit .236/.329/.336.
Hernández was mentioned a lot in trade rumors heading into the 2018 season. That is not the case this time around, but the Phillies have at least provided an explanation for his subpar performance, which may once again perk up trade interest. Hernández is entering his third of four years of arbitration eligibility and is expected to reprise his role as the Phillies’ full-time second baseman as the roster is presently constructed.
The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have considered trading super-utilityman Ben Zobrist in order to free up payroll space, which would allow the club to address other areas of the roster.
Zobrist, 37, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12 million in 2019. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs project to have an Opening Day payroll of about $204.5 million, just a hair below the luxury tax threshold of $206 million. The Cubs have notably been absent from the free agent marketplace, particularly involving Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, due to luxury tax concerns.
Last season, Zobrist hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 520 plate appearances. He played all over the field, logging 100-plus innings in both outfield corners and second base while also spending a handful of games at first base. With Addison Russell serving a 40-game suspension to open the 2019 season, Javier Báez will handle shortstop and Zobrist figures to be the starting second baseman.