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Is Gorkys Hernández the Forrest Gump of Baseball?

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This week’s McDeep Dive subject has been involved in a suspicious number of impactful player transactions.

Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We just debuted “McDeep Dive”, our new series that will spotlight one Giants player every day for a week. We’ll move backwards and forwards through time, look at on the field stuff, off the field stuff, and see if we can learn something new about them. Here’s part 1 of this week’s subject, Gorkys Hernández.

One day we all woke up and Gorkys Hernández was just... there. None of us knew where he came from and certainly not what to make of him. A glimpse into his past, however, has told me that Gorkys Hernández has always been there, right on the edge of history. Like a slick-fielding, borderline All-Star version of Forrest Gump.

It all began on October 29, 2007. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski hadn’t made a trade in two months. He was itching to make a big move to sustain the momentum of his team’s 88-74 season and with a playoff spot very much a possibility in 2008, he decided to bring in some veteran grit that could deliver in a big moment.

Tigers deal two prospects to Braves for Renteria

In exchange for the 32-year-old Renteria, Detroit gave upright-hander Jair Jurrjens and minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.

Édgar Rentería was in the last year of his contract when Dombrowski traded for him. The 2008 Tigers went 74-88, with Rentería performing well below expectations (his OPS on the season was .699). Rather than keep that club together, he opted to retool and reload for 2009, making Rentería a free agent. Only Brian Sabean would pounce on a 32-year old shortstop coming off one of the worst seasons of his career with a 2-year deal, but it couldn’t have happened without Gorkys Hernández.

Braves get McLouth from Pirates

Pittsburgh had coveted Hernandez when he was with the Detroit Tigers, before they traded him to Atlanta in an October 2007 deal for shortstop Edgar Renteria.

”A guy with impact speed, really play defense,” Huntington said. “A dynamic, athletic outfielder.”

The other two players who went with Gorkys to Pittsburgh were Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke. This was only a year and a half after the Braves had acquired him, too. Morton went on to become a power pitcher with the Astros and won the World Series in 2017. Jeff Locke had an 8.59 ERA in 7 starts with Miami last season and hasn’t returned to the game since a shoulder injury midway through 2017.

But the main thing is that McLouth didn’t pan out for the Braves much like how the Rentería move failed to get the Tigers over the hump. McLouth rode the bench for the 2010 NLDS, with Rick Ankiel and Matt Diaz starting in center and left, respectively. Ankiel hit the game-winning home run of game two, but Diaz’s WPA added was a -0.250 for the series. He fell so out of favor with Bobby Cox that the left-handed All-Star defensive outfielder was benched in favor of a converted pitcher and a pinch-hitter from the AL against the Giants’ top two starters, both of whom were right-handed. Thank you, Gorkys.

This next one is a real doozy:

Three years later and Gorkys finds himself on a new team. The competitive balance pick acquired by the Marlins became pick #35 overall in the 2013 draft. Miami took LHP Matt Krook, who ultimately did not sign with them out of high school.

If the name sounds vaguely familiar to you, that’s because the Giants drafted him in 2016 when he reentered the draft and became a part of the deal to the Rays that netted them Evan Longoria.

After years of affecting the franchise from the wings, Gorkys Hernández has moved to center stage to play a key role in the story of this season.