Chicago Cubs bring in veteran utilityman Hernan Perez
With the Chicago Cubs not making a lot of major moves, they are somewhat active on adding no-risk depth pieces so far this offseason.
On Tuesday, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported the Chicago Cubs will be bringing in utility man Hernan Perez on a non-roster invitee deal. Perez, 28, is a fairly familiar name among Cubs fans as he had spend the last several seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He will go to Mesa, Arizona in 2020 with a chance to make the big league club as a depth piece.
It is not a move that exactly has fans planning their ideal spot along Michigan Avenue for a World Series parade, but it is a move nonetheless. Perez occasionally showed flashes of being an effective bat but it never came together. Last season he slashed .228/.262/.379 in 91 games in a year which saw him have a 27-game stint in the minors, get designated for assignment in June and outrighted to Triple-A before electing free agency.
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No, this is not a huge move, but it is also not a move to necessarily hate. Being an NRI it gives a veteran utility man to make an impression and show some worth. If he does not, he doesn’t make the club and nothing is lost financially.
There is of course the concern that moves like this will be the primary types of moves made due to the supposed financial constraints, which is a legit concern and a whole other issue. Regardless there a few things to keep in mind looking at Hernan Perez.
What Perez can bring as a utility man.
Perez can play pretty much anywhere. In his career he has played virtually every position (even pitcher) on the diamond except for catcher. He has played at least 100 career-innings at third base, second base, right field, left field, shortstop and center field. Perez boasts a career +9 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in the outfield (all three positions combined) and +6 over at third. So plugging him in defensively is very easy.
In terms of hitting, this is where the struggled come. Perez is a career .252/.282/.387 hitter with a .668 OPS, 45 homers and 73 wRC+. One of the biggest struggles was simply getting on base. His career-high walks is 20 in 136 games in 2017. Overall his best year in the majors was 2016 when he hit .272/.302/.428 with 13 homers, .730 OPS, 90 wRC+ and 1.1 fWAR in 123 games. It was his only season in which he posted an fWAR above one.
If there are some solid things to look at him as a hitter, he can spread the ball around and has solid speed. His career batted ball includes 36.9% pull, 36.8% straight center and 26.3% opposite field. Take that as you will considering he is not a hitting machine who can get on base at a .350+ rate. In terms of speed and baserunning, Perez has 69 career stolen bases, including 34 in 2016, and a career 1.7 UBR.
To sum Perez up, he is a versatile defender with a solid glove and nice speed that will not hit the ball or walk much.
It can be very frustrating to see the Cubs not making big moves as many other teams are. So far this move is one of the bigger moves made so far for this team and that says something. It might not be anything to be excited about but there is no harm giving him a chance in spring training. It can be imagined that the Cubs like him because he is a solid/versatile defender. Hard to expect the bat to come around.