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.