Teoscar Hernandez is open to returning to the Blue Jays but acknowledges “that’s not in my hands”

Photo credit:Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
11 months ago
Following last year’s sweep by the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card playoff round, the Toronto Blue Jays opted to make some significant changes to the look of their roster.
They actively sought to get more left-handed bats in their lineup and to find players who were strong defensively. Among the players the Blue Jays traded away was Teoscar Hernandez, who was dealt to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko.
While Toronto’s outfield defence has improved considerably, they’re now missing a power threat in the middle of their lineup. Ironically, Hernandez fits the profile of the exact type of player the Blue Jays would like to add ahead of the August 1 trade deadline.
With the Blue Jays in Seattle to take on the Mariners this weekend, Hernandez appeared on Sportsnet’s Barker and Blair podcast to talk about his time in Toronto, how he’s doing with his new team, and his impending free agency.
Jeff Blair: How do you look at your time in Toronto? You started off with the Houston Astros and they traded you to the Blue Jays. How do you look back on it now that you’ve had a chance to step away from it a bit?
Teoscar Hernandez: It was great. I don’t regret anything. I have a lot of appreceation for the team, the people over there, the fans, and everybody who took care of me. My family loved it, I loved it. They have a special group over there and the fans love the team. There’s nothing to be negative about.
Jeff Blair: We saw Vladdy during the Home Run Derby FaceTime you. It’s pretty clear that you two are still really close. Tell us a little bit of how you keep track of what Vladdy is doing and that moment at the derby.
Teoscar Hernandez: Our relationship is more than just two players, I consider him my brother. The relationship that we built when I was in Toronto, in the off-season we keep in touch, he comes to my town, I go to his town, and we try to make that relationship stronger. That’s the kind of guy that I am and he is too. He likes to build a good relationship with the other players. We talk a lot, not each day, but two or three times a week to know what’s going on and how everything’s going.
Jeff Blair: The Blue Jays are looking for a middle of the order bat, somebody who can be a veteran, bat right-handed, who can hit left-handed pitching. I know a guy in Seattle who might fit that bill. You’re a free agent at the end of the year, do you ever stop and think ‘there’s a pretty good fit between me and them?’
Teoscar Hernandez: For me, I’m not going to say no. I thank the Blue Jays a lot and if I have the opportunity to come back, I will. But that’s not in my hands.
Hernandez has seen his offence dip since joining the Mariners this season. His on-base percentage is down to .300 from the .320 average he had during his six seasons with the Blue Jays and his slugging percentage has decreased from .503 in Toronto to .430 in Seattle.
It’s fair to assume that his offence would dip playing in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly stadium, but his weighted runs created plus (which takes park factors into consideration) sits just slightly above average at 104 this season, per FanGraphs.
There’s a lot of baseball left to be played so it’s difficult to say what’ll happen with Hernandez in free agency. He could wind up on a one-year, show-me deal if he doesn’t heat up or he could command a multi-year pact if he has a huge finish to the season.
When it comes to the Blue Jays, there’s no surprise that Hernandez answered the question the way that he did. He’s heading into free agency and isn’t going to shrink his market by saying that he wouldn’t want to sign somewhere. He also acknowledged that signing with the Blue Jays is out of his hands, so it isn’t like Hernandez is sitting around in Seattle actively planning his return to Toronto.
Could a reunion make sense for both sides? Possibly! But that’s a question for a few months from now when the season has been played and the dust has settled.


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