It’s been a busy offseason for Kiké Hernández.

The Red Sox super-utility player, in addition to training for his third season in Boston, has been preparing to represent Puerto Rico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic in March. In January, he made a memorable appearance as the sideline reporter at the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway, and spent Winter Weekend hanging out with Sox fans in Springfield.

Most notably, Hernández chose to spend his offseason recruiting for the home team. In part because of his efforts, his longtime Dodgers teammates, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, signed with the Sox. Jansen signed for two years and $32 million; Turner agreed to a one-year, $15 million guaranteed contract with a player option for a second season.

Hernández said he spent “about a month” texting and calling Turner every day to convince him to sign with the Sox. Jansen was an easier sell, “with JT it was way harder,” he said on The Chris Rose Rotation podcast this week, .

At Winter Weekend, Hernández said he “fought to have (Turner) on this team.”

Why? It’s deeper than a desire to reunite with a longtime teammate (they overlapped from 2015-20).


“(Turner’s) a guy that’s going to help turn around that clubhouse, man. …We’re going to look a lot different this year and we need it,” he told Rose. “I felt that we needed some guys that were not just good on the field but had the ability to change the culture in the clubhouse. And I know for a fact that’s a guy that can do that.”

This is the second offseason in a row that Hernández has helped reel in veteran talent; the 31-year-old super-utility player helped the Sox sign Trevor Story last March. But the second half of the ’22 season saw an unhappy clubhouse, with players publicly voicing disappointment and questioning the direction of the team. Now, they have a chance to foster a new clubhouse culture, with Hernández laying the groundwork early.

When he signed a one-year, $10 million extension in early September, Hernández told reporters, “(Chaim Bloom) knows that the most important thing for me is not just the opportunity to play every day, but how much it means for me to play every day for a winning team. I’m not going to say he promised me – but he promised me that we’re going to be way better next year.”

Later that week, the chief baseball officer pumped the brakes a bit in a radio interview, saying that Hernández “was paraphrasing a little … there’s only so much we control.”

What’s followed has been a chaotic offseason full of stunning highs (Rafael Devers’ extension) and abyss-like lows (several key players departing in free agency, Story’s surgery). Some of those changes directly impact Hernández, who originally signed to play second base in 2021, but ended up playing mostly center field. He signed his extension to keep playing center, but will be moving to shortstop while Story recovers.

Now, Matt Barnes, Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, and JD Martinez are gone, and the 2023 roster is shaping up to look more like the 2019 Dodgers – the last year Hernández, Turner, Jansen, and Alex Verdugo were all in Los Angeles – than any Sox team in recent memory. Chris Martin, signed to a two-year, $17.5 million deal by Boston, spent the second half of last season in Los Angeles, too.

Other newcomers include Masataka Yoshida, Corey Kluber, Joely Rodriguez, Adalberto Mondesí, and Richard Bleier, while Devers, Chris Sale, and Ryan Brasier are the only remaining members of the 2018 championship team.

Throughout the turnover, Hernández has stepped into a leadership role in a big way. At Winter Weekend, he told reporters, “I understand the responsibility that falls on my shoulders … I like to lead by example, but this year, I might need to be more vocal, but I’m all for it … I don’t like the term ‘captains,’ but the leadership role is one that I’m gonna embrace.”

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