In order to improve the roster for next season, a number of changes will need to occur over the offseason, which includes releasing some players. The first, and certainly not the only, of such moves was announced by the Milwaukee Brewers today.
Many Milwaukee Brewers fans were heartbroken when fan-favorite Hernan Perez was designated for assignment on June 28th of this year, though he returned to the Brewers later in the season for the team’s run to the postseason.
Those fans experienced deja vu when Milwaukee announced an offseason roster move on Wednesday.
Perez was one of a number of Brewer players who were arbitration-eligible going into this offseason. Now, instead of having to decide whether to tender an offer to the utility man, the team has decided to part ways early.
How did Perez do last year?
In case you missed it, it wasn’t pretty.
Perez started the year by going 35-for-149 over 59 games, good for a .235 batting average. He had five home runs and just a .659 OPS with an ugly ratio of 42 strikeouts to only nine walks. That performance earned him the aforementioned DFA.
Despite worries by the team and fans, Perez actually ended up clearing waivers and electing to report to Triple-A. He ended up doing rather well there, tallying a .290 batting average and .895 OPS over 27 games and slugging another five homers while driving in 19. At one point, he even ran up a 14-game hitting streak. All of that was enough to get him added back to the 40-man and 25-man rosters on August 9th.
The success in the minors didn’t translate to the majors though and his numbers actually dipped during his second stint with the Brewers in 2019. Over 32 games to end the season, his average and OPS dropped to .217 and .609 respectively. On top of that, his strikeout to walk ratio of 24 to 2 was worse as well. Now he finds himself a free agent in search of a new team.
Why outright him?
There are a couple reasons that this makes sense. First, though it wasn’t by a huge margin, Cory Spangenberg outplayed Perez down the stretch and can play all of the positions that Perez can. After all, there’s a reason that Spangenberg saw most of the playing time at second base while Keston Hiura was injured, right? Add to the fact that Spangenberg is projected to be given a cheaper arbitration salary and it makes sense why he’s the more attractive option to keep.
But besides just that, the Brewers need roster space. If GM David Stearns is looking to add impact free agents over the offseason, he’ll need open roster spots with which to do it. Additionally, Stearns will need to add some minor league players to the 40-man roster, highly-rated prospects Corey Ray and Zack Brown among other possibilities, in order to keep them from being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.
While it may not be fun to see a player as beloved as Perez be sent on his way, his performance in 2019 wasn’t good enough to justify keeping him on the roster. For a team that is looking to make a postseason run that more closely resembles that of 2018, they’ll need more production than Perez was able to give last year.
It will be interesting to see what other players suffer the same fate as Stearns starts to work his magic over the next few months. Either way, we already know one player who will likely be wearing a different jersey next year.