Detroit Tigers: Enough with Hernan Perez!
By Matt Pelc
Apr 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Hernan Perez (26) against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers surprised some when in Spring Training they chose to keep two light-hitting utility infielders rather than carrying a fifth outfielder with the potential for some pop off the bench.
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This cost presumed Opening Day roster player Tyler Collins a spot and ensured that both Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez would make the team out of Spring Training.
No one should have felt sorry for Collins, however. Despite having a nice stint after September call-ups last year, he experienced a very tough Spring Training, hitting .234 with two homers. This has bled in to his season with Toledo where he’s sporting a forgettable slash line of .240/.348/.302, has yet to hit a homer run in 96 at-bats, and has just six extra base hits.
So Collins clearly is not the answer to the Detroit Tigers’ offense woes, but there are a couple of options in Toledo that potentially could provide a spark.
- Xavier Avery: The left fielder had a decent spring and is hitting .359 with an OPS of .822.
- Daniel Fields: After several lost seasons this former top prospect is having an encouraging season compiling a .298 average with nine doubles, three triples and a homer. A center fielder, he would serve as the fifth outfielder, just like Avery.
- Corey Jones: If the Tigers still wanted to carry an additional infielder, Jones could be the answer. He’s hitting .298 split between Erie and Toledo this season.
The Tigers have been reluctant to make a move to bring up someone else because they are scared that they will lose Perez on waivers. Perez and Romine are out of options, which means if the club wants to send them back to the minors they must clear waivers first.
But what are the Tigers seeing in Perez that no one else sees? Romine has outplayed him in the reserve role this season. Perez has receive minimal playing time (20 at-bats and 13 games). He has just two hits this season, good for a .100 average.
One of the reasons he was kept after Lakeland was because they worked with him (and Romine) to play the outfield. While Romine has played two games in left field, Perez has yet to leave the infield.
Yet the Tigers refuse to risk losing this career .183 hitter?? He is a .262 minor league hitter, an adequate but not flashy defender, and possesses no real value (cannot play anywhere other than the infield). This is probably why he has spent seven seasons in the minor leagues.
If J.D. Martinez‘s back tightness is a lingering problem, Detroit may not have another choice but to bring up Avery or Fields, but if they are refusing to bring up reserves to try something–anything–to get the bats in gear because they mysteriously love Hernan Perez and don’t want to lose him, then it’s a laughable mistake.
There is no guarantee that a minor leaguer will come up and have success in the major leagues enough to help an entire lineup break out of its slump. The odds are stacked against it actually.
But the odds of Hernan Perez contributing to this team any time soon are even longer.