Milwaukee Brewers utility man Hernan Perez is in his second year of salary arbitration. Could the team decide not to offer him a contract, or should they keep going year-to-year with him?
The Milwaukee Brewers played Hernan Perez at every position except catcher last year, but he had a rough year at the plate. Is there any chance the team looks to move on from Perez in 2019?
How did Perez perform in 2018?
Perez appeared in 132 games and made 332 trips to the plate in 2018. He managed a .253/.290/.386 slash line with nine homers and 11 stolen bases. Perez scored 36 times, and drove in 29 runs. His .292 wOBA in 2018 was actually worse than his .298 wOBA in 2017.
Perez was solid against lefties in 2018, and managed a .277/.304/.479 slash line in 125 plate appearances against left-handers.
In the field, Perez was ‘Mr. Everywhere’ for the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent 193 1/3 innings in the outfield, 132 2/3 innings at shortstop, 125 innings at third base, 230 2/3 innings at second base, and 6 1/3 innings at first. Perez committed four errors on the season, and all four came in the infield. Both the eye test and the numbers indicate that Perez was better in the field in 2018 than 2017.
On the mound, Perez threw 3 1/3 innings, and posted a 13.50 ERA. He struck out two, walked one, gave up seven hits, and surrendered one homer.
How much is Perez expected to cost in 2019?
In 2018, Perez earned just under $2 million. He’s expected to get a raise to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million in salary arbitration this year.
Should the Brewers keep Perez?
Perez provides Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell with almost unmatched versatility. Perez doesn’t offer much value at the plate, but his ability to play almost any position on the diamond gives Counsell the ability to give players a rest in the late innings, or allow for more flexibility when it comes to double-switches.
Perez won’t turn 28 until just before the start of 2019 season. His salary is perfectly affordable for a team like the Milwaukee Brewers, and he’s still a capable hitter against left-handers. Perez is unlikely to ever earn a full-time role like the every day second base job, but he’s a perfectly solid bench player. Perez makes sense as the 25th man for a really good team, and that’s essentially the role he fills for the Milwaukee Brewers.
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Unless GM David Stearns has to part with Perez in a trade or there’s a sudden budget crunch, there’s no reason Perez won’t return in 2019. The Milwaukee Brewers value versatility, and that’s what Perez offers at an affordable rate.