Dodgers reunite with Kiké Hernández, trade Manuel Margot to Twins: Sources


By Fabian Ardaya, Dan Hayes, Aaron Gleeman and Ken Rosenthal 

In an amusing bit of right-handed-hitting outfielder musical chairs, Kiké Hernández is headed back to Los Angeles and the Minnesota Twins, who missed out on signing him, instead acquired Manuel Margot from the Dodgers in a trade after he was made expendable by Hernández’s return.

The Dodgers and Hernández are in agreement on a one-year, $4 million contract, according to a major-league source. 

As part of the trade, which was confirmed by a Minnesota team source, the Dodgers will reportedly receive shortstop prospect Noah Miller, and the Twins will get low-minors infield prospect Rayne Doncon and cash to cover a portion of Margot’s remaining contract.

Kiké is back with the Dodgers (again)

The Dodgers seemingly always had a desire to bring Kiké Hernández back into the fold this offseason, even as they closed his potential avenues on the roster. Hernández, a longtime fan favorite, endeared himself to the coaching staff in his second run with the club, with team officials valuing his defensive versatility and track record of hitting left-handed pitching. Acquiring Margot served as a means of ensuring that the trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for right-hander Tyler Glasnow would get across the finish line in December, but closed a potential avenue to bring back Hernández, who put up a .731 OPS after he joined Los Angeles at last year’s trade deadline; as the winter progressed, the Dodgers looked for opportunities to move Margot but never found one before spring training began.

That left Hernández, who according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal had narrowed his free-agent options to the Twins, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, with his preferred landing spot filled. 

When the Dodgers found a taker for Margot, another reunion with Hernández came together quickly.

On its face, bringing back Hernández fills the very hole that was vacated by Monday’s trade; the 32-year-old gives the Dodgers another option capable of playing center field while likely logging plenty of starts against left-handed pitchers — and also providing another insurance option for starts in the infield, including shortstop, with Gavin Lux in his first full season at the position and coming off a torn ACL. 

The agreement is pending a physical, with Hernández coming off offseason double hernia surgery, though he’s expected to have a normal (if late) spring training. — Fabian Ardaya

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The Dodgers acquired Manuel Margot as part of the Tyler Glasnow trade with the Rays in December. (Joe Camporeale / USA Today)

What Margot gives the Twins

Though the Twins appear more confident in Byron Buxton’s health than they have been in two years, they’ve been shopping for insurance all along. 

The Twins benefited from having an extra center fielder on the roster in 2023 in case Buxton’s knee never rebounded. Acquired last January, two-time Gold Glove Award winner Michael A. Taylor had them covered with outstanding defense and plenty of power in case Buxton couldn’t play the field, a scenario that lasted all season long. 

Over the past month, Minnesota had been linked to Hernández, Taylor, Adam Duvall and Tommy Pham, among others. But as the free-agent market continued to stall, the Twins opted to pursue a trade. 

Margot doesn’t have the same home run power as Taylor, topping out with a career-best 13 in 2017, his first full season. But unlike some of the Twins’ free-agent targets, Margot primarily has played center field throughout his career, providing above-average defense every season until 2023.

Beyond that, Margot boasts a .760 career OPS against left-handed pitchers, which should help the left-handed heavy Twins combat one of their biggest weaknesses of the past few seasons. — Dan Hayes

More on Miller

Noah Miller’s glove should carry him to the majors, but the 2021 supplemental first-round pick’s bat lags behind. He makes plenty of contact and draws walks, positive signs for the Wisconsin high school draftee who spent 2023 at High A as a 20-year-old, but Miller has hit just .220 with a .318 slugging percentage in 250 pro games, slugging below .400 in 11 of 14 months.

And yet it wouldn’t take much improvement offensively for the switch hitter to profile as a big-league regular. Miller is a legit defensive shortstop with standout range, arm strength and instincts, winning the Gold Glove Award for all minor leaguers despite a relatively low prospect profile. He has the raw hitting tools to at least be a bottom-of-the-lineup contributor, but needs to start producing.

Miller ranked No. 26 on my Twins top-40 prospect list, published in January. — Aaron Gleeman

(Top photo of Kiké Hernández: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)





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