Free Agent Reveals He Said 'No' To The NY Yankees, To Choose LA Dodgers

The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers have long been the big-money spenders on the free agent market (well, certainly more so the Dodgers in recent times), but in the case of a more fringe free agent this winter, Kike Hernandez tells us he chose his old familiar team in LA over the Yankees as his two finalists. 

"It came down to the Dodgers or the Yankees. Big market only. But I chose the Dodgers because they have a lot of left-handed hitters (while Hernandez bats from the right side), and I had familiarity."

The Yankees, he said, have a plethora of right-handed hitters like himself, and their lefties "aren't platoon guys" so he felt his opportunities for playing time in the Bronx would be limited.

Hernandez finished last season in LA, his second stint with the club after winning a World Series with them in 2020 before heading to the Boston Red Sox for three years.

Hernandez called free agency a difficult process this offseason, saying teams were going radio silent from time and time, and not a lot of substantive talks were had earlier on. They were hoping, he says, to wait out players until the price dropped. 

The 10-year veteran added that the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels were very interested but in the latter case, didn't make an offer. Same goes for the San Francisco Giants.

"I held my ground and I was waiting for the right opportunity. I was trying to get a little more money than the guys who got desperate (and signed for less) at the end." 

He said that returning to the Dodgers was just the right fit for him. "It's a very important year for me... I'm healthy for the first time in a while... And getting to re-establish my market, it's very important for me to have a good season". 

The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Dodgers after coming off a $10 million deal with the BoSox last season. After coming over to LA in a 2023 midseason trade, the versatile infielder/outfielder played every single position around the diamond for the Dodgers, except for pitcher and catcher.

Hernandez has a career .239 average with an OPS+ of 95.

 Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports