Jose Peraza came over in the Todd Frazier trade in December and the Cincinnati Reds immediately referred to him as the second baseman before catching themselves and saying in the future after Brandon Phillips is finished. Of course, we now know that the team was trying to trade Phillips at the time, but that the deal simply didn’t go through.

Over the weekend C. Trent Rosecrans talked with Peraza and asked him about where he’s going to play. The former Brave and Dodger said he’s ready and willing to play second base, shortstop or center field – all positions that he’s played in the past two seasons at the minor league level (though center field has been very limited by comparison).

Reds manager Bryan Price seemed to approve of that.

I think you’ll see him moving all over the place,” Price said. “As spring training starts, the guys I know are the regulars most often are typically playing on an every-other-day schedule. So Brandon (Phillips) can play one day and Peraza can play second the other day. Then I can move him around if I give Billy (Hamilton) a day off in center or I can play him over there with (Zack) Cozart since Cozart is going to be eased back. He’s going to get a lot of playing time in the spring, but it’ll just be in varying positions.

While that seems to be more of a short term solution, with his being an every day player in the long term future, using Peraza as a utility guy to begin the season with the big league club could certainly be an interesting road to take. When you look at the 40-man roster, particularly around the infield, the true back up infielders are Ivan De Jesus and Jose Peraza. Adam Duvall can probably play some first/third as a back up if you needed him to, but he’s much more of a bat than a glove.

If the team wanted to get creative and carry Peraza on the roster, they would certainly have to find a way to get him regular trips to the plate. If that means two starts a week at shortstop, a start at second and a start in center so he can grab 20 plate appearances a week to start the year with the big club instead of sending him to Triple-A, it wouldn’t be the worst plan ever. Getting him regular at-bats for Louisville would probably be better in the long run for his development, and that seems like the more likely bet to make at this point. Still, keep an eye on things in the spring. If Peraza has a strong spring and he shows himself capable at those three spots defensively, he could head to Cincinnati as a super-utility guy to start the season out and work his way into a starters role at some point.

27 Responses

  1. Tom

    I have a feeling that a lot of things are going to shake out in spring training. If I’m Brian Price, I’m telling Peraza to start oiling up his centerfielder’s mitt. If Hamilton doesn’t show any progress from last season, it’s a no-brainer to me to put Peraza out there to see what he can do. Even though it’s going to be a rough year, the Reds need to put a big league lineup on the field. If Peraza outhits Hamilton this spring, I think he needs to be out there. I’ll sacrifice great defense for a little offense any day on this year’s team.

    • Alan Horn

      CF and SS if Cozart can’t bounce back from injury. With Phillips age he is prone to injury and will need to take off more days if he is healthy.

    • Patrick

      I would not sacrifice any defense this year. With the young pitchers we are going with I want to not extend innings with bad defense. They are going to have trouble going deep in games and bad defense will make it worse. Plus good defense can help with confidence.

      The great difference last year between teams was run allowed not runs scored. a great example is that the Cardinals only scored 7 more runs than us but they gave up 229 runs less.

      • Doug Gray

        Runs scored was still a big problem. Worth nothing that the Reds play in a hitters park, Cardinals play in a pitchers park. That comparing directly runs scored misses a lot of information. Of course, the Cardinals had one of the best pitching staffs of the last 25 years when it comes to run prevention (ERA+ of 135 is the best a team has had in a very long time). There’s next to no chance they can repeat that. And their offense sucked. Just like ours did.

      • Patrick

        We were only 97 runs behind Colorado for best offense. which means there is not that much difference between offenses. and 57 Runs behind the Pirates the best offense in our division.
        In allowing runs we were 119 runs behind Washington the 7th best in the NL last year.

        GABP is really not that much of an offense park as it is a HR park.

      • Patrick

        The park factor for busch III is 101 for pitching
        The Park Factor for GABP is 101 for pitching
        the is per baseball reference using multi years which gives you better park factor because of larger sample sizes.

      • Doug Gray

        Going back to 2010, here is where Busch ranked in run factor: 24th, 25th, 18th, 25th, 4th! and 20th. Here’s where GABP has ranked in the same years: 12th, 8th, 8th, 16th!, 18th!, 6th.

        The two parks really aren’t comparable when it comes to run factors over their histories. GABP allows significantly more runs.

    • jim t

      Tom, Billy Hamilton should be given every opportunity to win the job. Especially this year when it is a rebuild year anyway. His ability to go get the ball and his base running are game changers. If he can raise his OBP up a bit he can get you 80 S/B’s. Playing Billy and putting Peraza in AAA to get regular at bats is a no brainer.

  2. sultan of swaff

    Yes, SS and CF. If Cozart shows anything with the bat like he did early on last year, the Reds need to trade him right away before anyone remember his career numbers. There’s always Blandino for 2B.

  3. Steelerfan

    Shortstop, CF and 2B in that order. He has much more value if he can play the first two, and it is not at all clear we have long term solutions at either.

    A related question is where Suarez plays long term. I understand we have no good option other than to play him at 3B now, but his bat looks so much better at SS or 2B….

    • Doug Gray

      As things stand right now, until Peraza shows he can handle shortstop, Suarez still seems to be the answer there in the long term.

    • DaveCT

      And, if he turns out to be the best SS defensively, he should end up there. While Blandino played 3B in college, it may be between Peraza and him for 2B or super utility.

      I’m not confident at all Jagielo will ever catch the ball or that Sparks will hit well enough (or not strike out too much actually) to be at 3B long term. Might be the next generation, i.e., LaValley, that takes the position.

  4. James Kalat

    Apparently everyone assumes that even though he can play CF, it is impossible for him to play LF. Why?

    • Doug Gray

      Because no team is going to play a guy who might hit 5 home runs in left field.

      • Tct

        Or Lou Brock. Vince Coleman. Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson didn’t have much pop at the start of their careers. Brett Gardner. Gerardo Parra. Etc…

      • Doug Gray

        Raines, Henderson and Gardner all have multiple double digit hr seasons. Didn’t look up the others. There’s a difference between not much power, and what Peraza has.

  5. Norwood Nate

    Two of the more poignant oversights this off season both involve Peraza in some way, directly or indirectly.

    The first of which is the tunnel-vision on the Reds FO part when it came to acquiring Peraza. When the initial Chapman deal fell through, instead of waiting that out or moving onto separate deals, the Reds seemingly pushed through a trade involving Frazier for Peraza, because the Reds really wanted Peraza. This has led to many in baseball or baseball related media to question the return for Frazier, even against what the Dodgers received back in their part of the three-way deal. In fact, it’s been noted as one of the worst moves of the off season. I just don’t understand what makes Peraza so special to the Reds that they were willing to take a deal that was universally deemed as poor value to get him board. Especially without an immediate place to play him.

    Which is the 2nd oversight, and more relevant to this particular story, why trade for the guy before you know that you could move the guy he was replacing? The Reds had to assume it was going to be difficult to trade Philips. He already had rejected a deal to the Yankees and the D’backs. Two years of Super Utility will be a waste of development time. Hopefully Cozart can be moved if he bounces back, otherwise the Reds have painted themselves into a corner for two years.

    It just all seems like poor overall planning and a lack of flexibility or regrouping when the Chapman/Dodgers deal fell through. Overall this rebuild has appeared haphazard and directionless. The Reds still haven’t acquired a 3B to replace Frazier (and no, I don’t think Jagielo counts as he’s not likely to stick at 3B fulltime), the best position player they have acquired has no real place to play for the time being, and have received underwhelming returns on the guys they did trade this winter and haven’t been able to work out a landing spot for Bruce or Phillips.

    Personally, I think Peraza should go wherever he can play every day. I think the Reds will feel some pressure to add him to the 25-man roster as he is the marquee addition from the off season and the fans won’t have much to show up for at the ball park this season. If he does end up with the Reds I think he should play 5x a week, twice at 2B, twice at SS, and once in CF.

  6. MK

    Peraza has nothing to prove in AAA. A lot of players have had to wait their turn taking on a utility role. Way back Ray Knight had tonwait on Pete Rose to leavemore recently Fraizier had to wait on Rolen and Mez had to wait as well. If he can get three starts a week it would be more beneficial than another year of AAA.. And as mentioned before Hamilton, Phillips and Cozart have had some injury issues. The manager just has to set them down when injured which he has not done in the past. Both Hamilton and Phillips have played with injurues the shouldn’t.

    • Doug Gray

      I’d say that Peraza has to prove he can get on base in Triple-A. His OBP was quite low at the level.

  7. Bill

    I would start Peraza in Louisville for several reasons. Peraza needs to play and there is no obvious spot on the Red’s roster. With Cozart and Phillips healthy there won’t be enough at bats at positions where Peraza is comfortable. When interviewed, Peraza indicated he was more comfortable in the infield. Do we really want to take a high-potential rookie and make him learn CF while adjusting in the majors?

    Peraza had a solid year at AAA, but regressed offensively compared to his work in the lower minors–especially in the OBP area. 2-3 months at AAA allows a very young prospect additional time to develop. The last thing we want to do is rush prospects to the majors during a rebuilding year.

    I would plan to play Peraza primarily at SS. Cozart is a likely candidate to be moved by the trade deadline. Phillips has shown no inclination to accept a trade and I expect the Reds to give Billy Hamilton this season to show whether he can hit in the majors. Expect to recall Peraza by the trade deadline when perhaps Cozart has been moved opening SS for Peraza.

    Lastly, time at Louisville can help the Reds gain an additional year of player control by slowing Peraza’s major league service clock. Given how much the Reds front office wanted Peraza, they must be confident he is a future major league starter. If he is a future starter, gaining an extra year of player control is an excellent investment this year.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      Bill:

      I absolutely agree for all the same reasons + your likely future 2B is not Peraza, it’s Blandino. Why create a scenario that blocks Blandino next year by pushing Peraza on to 2B only. While his arm is not necessarily plus for SS , it was still solid when he played there. The primary reason Peraza was ever moved from SS was Simmons. Put him back where his weak bat plays up better – SS. Put Blandino where his glove plays better and his bat still is a positive for the position. While I am skeptical, give Jagielo a chance at 3B. (He has to stay healthy for a season to know.) Suarez is likely going to be a good utility bench bat IMO. He overperformed last year. His .341 babip is unsustainable; he doesn’t make enough contact and likely won’t hit for the same power as he did last year; his plate discipline is poor and never really has been very good; and his defense at SS is not good. He is a likely regression candidate for this upcoming season. Saw a fangraphs article that said the same.

  8. GBN

    IMO…
    If there is a chance Peraza can handle shortstop – it only enhances his value and career arc – that low OBP plays better at SS..
    The team obviously knows more than we do, but IF he can grow into SS, I would send him to AAA and start him there every day.
    He can also work on that plate approach.
    And, if this approach preserves service time, then all the better.

    • Hoyce

      Peraza at SS is best case scenario I think. Hopefully BP accepts a trade sooner or later. And trade cozart at deadline seems appropriate. Hopefully Jag can be a replacement for votto. Because if he goes down at all- reds could be looking at historically bad record. I would try everything possible to get the young AAA 3B from Rockies. He fits w reds not rocks