On this day in 1999, the Brewers signed veteran infielder Jose Hernandez to a three year, $10 million deal. It's important to remember that this transaction happened back when the Brewers were still owned by the Selig family, so a three year deal for a guy who was basically a journeyman role player was one of the biggest and most hyped moves of their offseason.
Hernandez was a useful player, but he was ill-equipped to be a franchise player. Most fans probably best remember him for his first year as a Brewer in 2000, when he hit just .244/.315/.372. He struck out 125 times in 124 games that season before picking up the pace and leading the NL with 185 Ks in 152 games in 2001 and again with 188 in 2002.
Things did get progressively better for Hernandez as time went by: He followed his .687 OPS in 2000 with a .743 mark in 2001 and an .834 in 2002 en route to the only All Star appearance of his career. rWAR estimates his total value as a Brewer at 5.8 wins, with 4.2 of those wins coming in 2002 and -0.1 in 2000.
Hernandez left the Brewers as a free agent following the 2002 season and played four more seasons in the majors split between six teams.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2008-10 Brewer Alcides Escobar, who turns 25.
- 2003-04 Brewer Matt Kinney, who turns 35.
- 2000 Brewer Chris Jones, who turns 46.
- 1975 Brewer Tommy Bianco, who turns 59.