The Chicago White Sox are officially on the hunt for a new second baseman.
The team announced Saturday it's declining the club option on César Hernández, who was acquired in a midseason trade.
The deal for Hernández, a Gold Glove winner at second base, did not work out for the White Sox, who saw his solid power numbers with the division-rival Cleveland Guardians decline dramatically after arriving on the South Side. After posting a .431 slugging percentage and hitting 18 home runs in 96 games in Cleveland, he slugged .299 with three homers in 53 games with the White Sox.
And so, unsurprisingly, the White Sox are moving in a new direction. Hernández was acquired, in part, with that 2022 option in mind, and general manager Rick Hahn dealt second baseman of the future Nick Madrigal to the Chicago Cubs in the Craig Kimbrel deal the following day, setting up the potential for Hernández to play a featured role for more than just a couple months.
But now the White Sox will look elsewhere to plug a sizable hole at second base.
The in-house options are not terribly appealing for a team with its sights set on winning a World Series championship in 2022. Leury García is a free agent, leaving reserve infielders like Danny Mendick and Romy Gonzalez as the top options currently in the White Sox' employ.
That likely sends Hahn to search outside the organization, where free-agent options are as high profile as former top-three MVP finishers Marcus Semien and Javy Báez. Eduardo Escobar and Chris Taylor are also free agents, and the trade market is always a possibility, too.
But the White Sox are now dealing with the consequences of their trade-deadline gambles not paying off, and it could define a large percentage of their offseason work.