By Sam Bush

The Phillies’ 2017 season ends this Sunday, and by Monday morning second baseman Cesar Hernandez will likely be a key figure in their offseason:

Either as a building block for 2018 or as a trade chip.

The 27-year-old Hernandez has emerged as a dependable leadoff hitter, compiling a .292/.366/.404 slash line over the past two seasons.

The recent promotion of J.P. Crawford has left the Phillies with a crowded infield as Hernandez, Crawford, Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco have been splitting September at-bats. Galvis is set to be a free agent, but the Phillies also have second-base prospect Scott Kingery waiting in the wings.

Though the Phillies have placed a high value on Hernandez, particularly his ability to get on base, they also need to bolster a starting staff that is thin when you get past Aaron Nola. Lawrence suggests Hernandez or even Kingery could be floated in trade talks to bring back a controllable pitcher.